**UPDATED** Odd question to be asked by a doctor...

Khali - posted on 11/21/2011 ( 43 moms have responded )

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The Dr. asked a question that bothered me and honestly didn't seem pertnant to my kids health care. She asked us if we had any guns/weapons in the house and if they were locked up.

This was the main issue I had with being asked this, honestly we have nothing to hide. However this to me seemed like something she had no business asking. Wether or not I have guns/weapons in my home has no bearing on my childrens health, anymore than wether I have an intimate relationship with my husband does.. So bottom line. Would being asked questions that have NOTHING to do with your childrens healthcare bother you?

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[deleted account]

A good doctor cares about the whole child and their environment... not just any medical issues. Gun safety is not about health, but it IS about the safety and well being of a child.

It wouldn't bother me any more than the ped asking about my child's car seat.

Joy - posted on 01/18/2013

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Well now we know the answer...it's all a part of gun reform brought on by the federal govt. Once again, the President is finding ways to "nose into our private lives." These things should be alarming to everyone as it is a sign of all the changes the USA is facing with the govt prying into and trying to control our lives. BIG BROTHER REALLY IS WATCHING YOU! Whether you want to believe it or not and it's only going to get worse with time.

Amber - posted on 03/09/2013

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I have been asked this before during one of my son's pediatrician visits, along with other pretty standard questions, such as "Does your child wear a helmet when riding a bike? or "Does your child ride in a car seat or booster seat?" I think the gun/weapon question is not to judge you, but more to make sure that if you do own these items, that you do your absolute best to protect your child from an accidental injury/death by locking them up in a place your child can't get a hold of them. Maybe if it bothers you so much that they asked, ask them why they need to know that information. Hope this helps!

Tim - posted on 02/21/2013

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Hello, here is a Dad's point of view. (I found this thread because I Googled a similar question to the original for this post so please excuse the intrusion!)

Taking your child to a pediatrician is something you do as a responsible parent. It is also required by certain school districts to have a recent checkup performed before a child is enrolled into a school. That being said, the visits should deal with the child's health as it pertains to their respective bodies/minds at that moment in time. It should not go beyond that point. For example, these questions that are asked by the physicians: "Firearms in the home?, etc." Or just recently, my child got a speech about making sure they 'tell mom and dad if they leave one friend's house and go to another'; limiting their "gaming time"; wearing helmets while riding bikes and skateboards. Huh?? Why are you parenting my child?? I didn't ask you to intervene on my behalf. Was this for their welfare?? What about the gun issue? Is it all "just for the safety of the kids?" Where does it end? I know, the simple answer is, of course, YES. But wholly cow!, you can expand that argument to infinity, couldn't you? Should they ask the child if mommy or daddy has a gambling problem---because couldn't that be a danger to the child's welfare if they gamble the house away?? What about the steak knives? Do you keep them locked up? Do you have matches or lighters? Someone else on this thread mentioned the point of "Big Brother" and I agree to that assertion as well. I believe there is a bit of Gov't interaction with these questions with a side dish of the fear of litigation on the part of these doctors---when they get sued by one of their patients because they didn't tell some kid to wear a helmet or not play with guns, etc. I will admit that I did not stop the doctor from asking any questions or refuse the answers. HOWEVER, I did educate my child after the visit about the doctor overstepping their bounds so they would know who they (my child) need to answer or not answer to when posed questions like this in the future. Assuming that these questions are harmless is like congress saying the U.S. doesn't have a spending problem. : )

43 Comments

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Jessibell - posted on 08/03/2013

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that is a normal and important question to ask, along with if the outlets are covered, if anyone smokes in the home, if there are strings hanging near a crib or if you keep a hand on the child at all times while they are on the change table.

It is pertinent to their health as a child accessing a gun without an adult present could mean the end to their life.

This is a normal question and I am surprised at how offended you are about it. A doctor is there to ensure the health and safety of your family and to offer suggestions.

(If you had said there is a gun you keep in a drawer perhaps he may have suggested getting a locked cabinet as is required by law where I live.)

Tina - posted on 07/23/2013

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She probably read one too many articles about children dying from guns in the house and took the opportunity as a person that deals with parents of children to say something if you said you did have guns in the home. As a teacher, i can see it since I've taken the opportunity sometimes to talk to parents about 'parenting' things at home because I've seen things that affect children. Don't be too offended.

Leslie - posted on 07/22/2013

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I never got ask that question and she is almost 3. But my husband does have swords we hide and put up where she will not get to them. We never take our eyes off her. So we are very carefully parents. Special need child here.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/22/2013

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I actually get asked this question at the yearly physical I have to do at work. They want to know if I'm living in a safe environment or if an accidental shooting could possibly be billed to their insurance. Your pediatrician wants to know if your child is in a safe environment, nothing more.

Timora - posted on 07/22/2013

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It's all about education. You would think it would be common sense to keep guns locked up and away from curious children, but if you do a search of the news there are tons of reports of young children - preschool and elementary - finding loaded guns laying on beds, in closets, etc and killing siblings or friends. So the Dr is just asking to educate about the importance of safety in the home and lives that can be saved by prevention.

Kayla - posted on 07/21/2013

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I have been asked this before...Being a CPL Holder I asked why that mattered. Our pediatrician's office does free Eddy Eagle training and also give the parents guides for teaching your child gun safety free.

Tessa - posted on 07/19/2013

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Actually, yes it does. They ask to make sure parents are properly locking up weapons so that kids don't accidentally kill or injure themselves or others.

Stephanie - posted on 07/19/2013

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Deanna - posted on 01/20/2013

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It does have something to do with your children's welfare though. My husband has firearms, but I am against them. I think the Dr. just wanted to know if the guns were locked up, away from children's curious sight. They could easily get a hold of one and if it is loaded...The Dr. needs to make sure that the children are in a safe environment. It is VERY pertinent information. It is the exact same as asking if your pain killers are up high and out of the reach of small hands.
It a safety issue.

Melissa - posted on 01/20/2013

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I'm pretty sure that's a standard question, along with do you have a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector in your house, I've been asked all of those before

Lisa - posted on 01/19/2013

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Honestly it has never bothered me. It may be because it always follows the "do you lock up your cleaning supplies/pesticides?" question at my pediatrician's office, so I have always viewed it as a danger prevention question. When I answered "no" to the cleaning supplies/pesticides question at my oldest's first visit, I did get a nice speech about how important it was to do so. I assume that if I were to answer "yes" to owning a gun and "no" to locking it up, I would get a similar speech.

[deleted account]

It never bothered me at all but I did find it strange. Your pediatrician isn't asking to be nosy. They are required to ask. Actually, at our pediatrician's office they are now required NOT to ask. But I don't see the fuss if you have nothing to hide.

Talitha - posted on 12/30/2011

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They are only asking so they can make sure that if you do have any, you are keeping them locked up.

Joy - posted on 12/30/2011

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Honestly, no it shouldn't bother you if you have nothing to hide. But I think you may be reading into this a little too much. A doctor's job is to look out for the welfare of the child. That includes trying to explain the bruises and if there are guns in the house. They have to ask. It is all about education and the safety of the child. I read an article where these parents were mixing the formula wrong, it was one scoop to a gallon is how they were doing it. And when their daughter was getting sickly, they didn't take her to the doctor. The little girl is fine now. Its just the parents were not educated. Let the doctor's ask the questions because they are doing it with concern, not to butt into your business.

Jamie - posted on 12/06/2011

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they ask that question so if parents do have guns in the house, they like to talk to parents about the safety of keeping them locked up all the time. it can effect a child's health if parents are stupid and their kid shoots himself or a sibling, because said guns are not locked up.

[deleted account]

It makes sense that if they feel that a child is being neglected or abused they hand it over to the 'experts' in the field, you would expect to be transferred to an oncologist if you had cancer, or a physiotherapist for muscle issues, or a speech therapist for speech problems etc so why would you expect your doctor to deal with abuse issues...this is why we have specialists. Cps are trained to give the best care they can for children in these situations!

Khali - posted on 11/28/2011

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For thoes of you who have asked why I have an issue with these kinds of questions its simple.. I do not like people to pry in to how I raise/teach my children.. If a doctor has a question of that nature they can pull me aside AFTER the appointment and ask it.. by all means if you wanna know something ask me.. but at an appropriate time. While I am trying to ask questions pertaining to my son's speech development or his potty training is not the appropriate time.. As well as the fact that (as a few other mom's pointed out) she may have a personal reason.. and here's the thing.. I don't take my kids to see her for her opinions regarding our home defence options, I can respect them and even listen to them but not during my kids appointment...

Now to answer the whole "they have to ask stupid questions to stop abuse" the thing is they more often than not don't care to "educate" at least in my experience they would rather pawn it off to cps.

This is just my experience, Unfortunately that whole saying "no good deed goes unpunished" is very true of how life works...

Stifler's - posted on 11/28/2011

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We have to do spousal abuse questionnaires in Antenatal appointments too. And depression scales.

Caitlin - posted on 11/28/2011

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I' ve been asked if we have a backyard pool (we don't) or if anyone we visit does ( some do). It's so that they can educate you if your aren't aware of the dangers and risks.. nothing wrong with that. Just like my doctor askinghow much juice/treats my kids get. It's a matter of prevention, not judgement. If I wasn't aware of the risks, she would have explained them. If I was asked if we had guns in the house, I woudl simply respond - yes.. They are trigger locked in a safe with the ammo stored in another one. NO issues there, they just want to know for safety! (My husband is former military) I think it's wise that a doctor is making sure your chidlren are safe, and while it may seem like none of her/his damned business, it kind of is.

An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure anyday!

Kimberly - posted on 11/28/2011

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Know its off topic but my nurse asked me if my husband was abusive and I feared for my or my daughters safety.....in front of his mother who was at the visit with me I started laughing til I realized she was serious. I didnt like it but I answered her and that was the end of it. I have been asked things that I didnt think were of importance and said as much, I've also asked for some thing to be taken off my medical records as they are on a need to know base only. Doctors do have a duty of care to ask questions but your still have a right as a parents to your priviacy

Stifler's - posted on 11/28/2011

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i'm just sayin. if you have nothing to hide... why is this a big deal?

Jane - posted on 11/27/2011

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Perhaps that doctor recently lost a young patient because they found a gun at home and it went off. Have you considered that possibility?

Stephanie - posted on 11/27/2011

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it could be an issue of safety if you did have them in the house and they were not stored properly. While it sounds like an odd question, it is asked for your child's safety.

Rachael - posted on 11/25/2011

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by definition, health is not simply the absence of illness or disease, but rather all the pieces of an individual's life that impact his/her overall state of being. For this reason healthcare providers are responsible for asking many questions that may not seem to relate directly to health status. For example, being asked about the presence of guns in the house and the security of those guns is significant. Many people have old weapons that have been in their homes/families for generations and have been "locked" away, but not secured according to current firearms standards. When the physician asks these questions it makes him or her aware of any potential hazards present in the childs environment. Dr.s ask about second hand smoke, pets, dangerous exposures, weapons (or potential weapons) and abuse. We have now begun asking every child over the age of 10 admitted to our peds unit if they have been hit, kicked, or punched in the last 12 months. If they are affraid of someone they are in a relationship with, have been in a relationship with or otherwise. It seems silly to ask 10 year olds about potentially abusive relationships, but with children becoming sexually active and having children at younger ages there is indeed a reason to ask about relationships. If the questions your doctor asks bother you you should ask yourself why that is, and address the issue with your physician. telling him/her to MYOB isn't really fair since by bringing your child to his/her office for medical care is making it part of their business. =)

Crysta - posted on 11/25/2011

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Ok, first of all some people on here need to realize that with her being a military family its a big possibility that she does take her child to a center that it on post, and yes they can be very pushy and tend to get into things that really isn't any of their business. Most doctors on base will ask you the same question 3 or 4 times within one visit, being a military family as well it has happened to me too and it is a little irritating to have to repeat yourself constantly before they get around to figuring out why you are even there in the first place. For example, every appointment I have taken my son to for a check up they have repeatedly asked me if I would like to circumsize my son who is almost 2 because it was not done correctly when he was first born so he is only half circumsized. Imagine having a doctor ask you the same question more than once at every check up appointment. I get that they ask certain questions because they are looking out for the safety of the child, but the health care facilities on post are not nearly as well kept as you think they would be, as far as keeping accurate records for certain things.

[deleted account]

There's nothing stopping you telling your doctor to mind there own, but if you did it would raise huge red flags and would subject you to further scrutiny!

I do understand your frustrations, like I have said I have been questioned and had doctors and nurses try to catch me out, but they can multi-task and check your child whilst asking you questions...maybe that's why they ask a few times because they are multi tasking? Or maybe they had a client whose kid got hold of their gun and killed someone, or maybe they just have boxes to tick and that is one of them (asking every parent if their guns are locked up). It can be annoying and as though your being treated like a kid but there's a bigger picture and it really isn't worth getting worked up about!

Bonnie - posted on 11/24/2011

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Any kind of safety is important for the child's health and well being really. That's why they ask if things are locked away, if hot water is turned down to a certain degree, etc.

Khali - posted on 11/23/2011

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Ok, first off Christina, thank you, It's nice to know that there are other mom's who don't appriciate thoes kinds of questions.. Now to everyone else, this is a question I had, not some personal "witch hunt", Being as most of the mom's i am friends with are military and constantly moving and changing doctors. Bottom line I wanted a variety of opinions, but I do not want to see thoes with differing opinions attacking others. Look if you don't like the opinion, you don't have to agree with it feel free to say your piece and be done. But please keep it polite and on topic.

Christina - posted on 11/23/2011

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Well so glad to see that thinking people should MYOB gets so much attention.... I understand that they are trying to catch people that abuse their kids and hope they do... but I still believe that if i want to keep my personal life personal its my right to... there are so many people saying well if you have nothing to hide which i dont then whats the big deal? Asking once or even twice during a well child visit is one thing but asking every time I go and twice in a visit when I am trying to get care for the immediate problem just pisses me off makes me offended and to all the if you dont like your doctor switch for some people and the insurance they have thats harder to do then ya think...

I also thought this was a site to support all opinions even unpopular ones so instead of jumpin on people maybe we can try to see it from another point of view

[deleted account]

Christina, they have to ask the innocent people so they can catch the guilty ones, there's a bigger picture than you being put out by being asked a few questions, which if you've done nothing wrong shouldn't be hard to answer. It's about stopping abuse and neglect....and before you start jumping up and down I've been there and I've had doctors and nurses try to catch me out when I was telling the truth about an accident, I've been questioned about bruises on my son, which he got because he's a climber and runs around and doesn't look where he's going. I answered the questions repeatedly with the same response because I was telling the truth someone who isn't may not.

It is about finding abuse and neglect if that means I get asked some iffy questions every now and then so be it, if me being questioned stops one child being abused then question away, I'd rather doctors didn't mind their own business because if they did so many children would live horrific lives...more than do now!

Stevie - posted on 11/22/2011

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I don't see what the big deal is. My DS(11) was asked if he smokes or does drugs or alcohol during his sports physical this year. It seems like they are always going through different guidelines and yes its something they are supposed to ask even though it seems ridiculous.

We've been asked about weapons as well but its like anything else if you said yes and no they aren't locked up they would probably draw your attention to statistics and dangers - its not so much as a screen process because they think you are the type of person or a military family they want to ensure the safety of your children and you are aware of any obvious potential risks.

Elizabeth - posted on 11/22/2011

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Our daughter's doctor has asked us this several times. I informed her that we have guns and they are locked away. When she first asked me I was a little taken aback but then I could understand how she meant it. She's looking out for the child's health/safety. Our daughter is our only child so for being first time parents I guess she just wanted to make sure we were doing the correct thing. So after the first time she asked no it hasn't bothered me. If it bothers you I would let the doctor know that you don't think it's their business.

Christina - posted on 11/22/2011

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It bothers me... I have been asked tons of questions like these because my doctor knows we are a military family, they have also asked questions that make it seem like my husband is abusive or neglectful since my boy has some unexplained burises from playing like a boy... I think doctors should MYOB and take care of the issues at had like my childs flu symptoms or what not why do they need to know about any guns in the house then?

Colleen - posted on 11/22/2011

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agreed with the other mums, if you have nothing to hide then it should not bother you, i understand you feel that they are prying into your lives but if they didnt then they wouldnt be doing their job, it is the doctors role to make sure you and your family are all safe healthy and doing well. if you dont like the questions the doctor is asking you then raise the issue with them and explain the way you felt but they were doing their job.
personally i would expect my doctor to ask me "stupid questions" because otherwise they are not checking every aspect of my familys health

[deleted account]

It can have an affect on your child's health if you have guns and they aren't locked up properly, if you've got nothing to hide you have nothing to be concerned about, you have to remember that some people aree stupid and need telling guns should be locked up if you (general you) insist on having them in your homes. Some of the things I've been asked seem ridiculous to me but people need them asked (I overheard a woman ask the midwife if the midwife would tell her when she was in labour...no you tell ne the midwife replied; another lady asked if she could leave her underpants on for an internal etc) some people do not understand basic things and need telling.

Medic - posted on 11/21/2011

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I think ours has asked stuff along those lines? If you have nothing to hide why does it matter? I think its a way for them to see if there is any education that should go on.

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