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Unsecured Handgun Leads To Toddler's Death

At a former childcare center in Henderson, North Carolina, two year old Timothy Atwater Jr. accidentally shot himself with an unsecured handgun that was left lying on a countertop. He was taken to the Maria Parnham hospital where he was pronounced dead. www.newsobserver.com/...raleigh-toddler-dies-in-accidental.html

It was originally reported that this tragedy occurred at a childcare center, but Lori Walston, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Child Development, said the owner chose to close the facility in November of 2008.

This is an unfortunate incident of the worst type and one that should never have happened. Childcare center or not, guns should be locked and secured in areas that are completely inaccessible to children, not lying on a countertop. Adults have a duty to protect the children in their care.

Incidents such as this are resulting in stricter screening procedures for both childcare centers and their workers. Lend your support to any efforts to strengthen childcare licensing and screening procedures. By stepping further away from the old “babysitting” stereotype we will get a higher level of professional respect from the community.

While no reasonable childcare provider, or any responsible adult, would leave a handgun in reach of a toddler, perhaps this incident can teach us all to be more conscious of what we leave lying about. Something as innocent as scissors or even a pair of pliers can be a dangerous temptation for any toddler.

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