CLEVELAND, Ohio – Guns are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, according to the CDC, so how do parents keep their kids safe?

“This is so largely preventable. I think that is the most important piece of this conversation is that the more we talk about it, the more we normalize these conversations, the more we create awareness — that is the first step in preventing tragedies,” said Purva Grover, MD, emergency medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

One step parents can take is to lock their up weapons and store the ammo separately, and if your child is going to a friend’s house, talk with the parents about the presence of a gun in their home. Dr. Grover said it’s okay to ask that question and make sure that they properly store their weapons.

Gun safety is also an important topic to discuss with your child in case they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

“We also have a higher rate of suicide, violence, and we are seeing patients in increasing numbers with psychiatric emergencies – depression, anxiety, psychosis,” Dr. Grover said. “And now you have a child who has his or her mind not well right now and they are in a really vulnerable state, and they have access to something as dangerous as a gun. I mean it’s just adding fuel to the fire.”

Dr. Grover said pediatricians are talking with more parents about this issue, not to judge but to help educate.