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Keywords:

  • safety skills;
  • prevention;
  • children;
  • behavioral skills training

Research has shown that children often engage in gun play when they find a firearm and that this behavior is often involved in unintentional firearm injuries. Previous research has shown existing programs to be ineffective for teaching children safety skills to reduce gun play. This study examined the effectiveness of a behavioral skills training (BST) program supplemented with in situ training for teaching children safety skills to use when they find a gun (i.e., don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult). Eight 4- to 5-year-old children were trained and assessed in a naturalistic setting and in a generalized setting in a multiple baseline across subjects design. Results showed that 3 of the children performed the skills after receiving BST, whereas 5 of the children required supplemental in situ training. All children in the study learned to perform the skills when assessed in a naturalistic setting and when assessed in a generalization setting. Performance was maintained at 2- to 8-week follow-up assessments.