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What will it take to spark your interest in firearm safety? :

June 27, 2019

Editor's note:The 2019AAP National Conference & Exhibitionwill take place from Oct. 25-29 in New Orleans.

Her desire to work on firearm safety didn’t stem from treating gunshot victims or losing a patient to suicide. It was a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt.

Alyssa H. Silver, M.D., FAAP, initially thought about getting involved in firearm safety efforts after attending a session on gun violence at a Pediatric Academic Societies meeting. At the time, however, she was focused on bronchiolitis research, so she put the thought on the back burner.

About a year later, she bought her kindergarten son a glow-in-the dark T-shirt with dinosaurs on it.

“I said to him, ‘Look what I got you,’” Dr. Silver recalled. “And he said, ‘Oh, Mommy. I can’t wear it to school because we have to do these things where we have to hide in the dark from the bad people with the guns. If I wear the glow-in-the-dark T-shirt, it might glow and the bad people with the guns might see me.”

And just like that, gun violence was back on her radar.

“I’m glad that they do the drills, but this is clearly something that affects kids in other ways, not just those who are directly exposed to gun violence,” said Dr. Silver, a member of the AAP Section on Hospital Medicine.

Dr. Silver will discuss what pediatricians can do to address the issue during a session titled “Protect Kids, Not Guns: How Can Pediatric Providers Promote Firearm Safety?” from 3-3:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 (F2195) in rooms 356-357 of the convention center and again from 3-3:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 (F3202) in rooms 353-355.

She will begin by presenting statistics to put the issue in perspective. In 2016, for example, more children under age 5 died as a result of gun-related injuries than law enforcement officers in the line of duty, said Dr. Silver, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and attending physician, Division of Hospital Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

Then, she will discuss four ways pediatricians can get involved: advocating for legislation, educating trainees and other physicians, addressing gun safety in practice, and conducting research. She also will provide resources.

“We are empowered as pediatricians to address this issue from our perspective of trying to advocate for the health and well-being of children and teenagers,” Dr. Silver said. “There are a variety of ways that everyone can be involved.”

For more coverage of the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

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