Dr. Marjorie Rosenthal worte an op-ed about a conversation she witnessed between a Pediatric Intern at the Yale-New Haven Hospital and some new parents.
“Your daughter’s physical exam is perfect,” the intern said. “She’s eating well, peeing and pooping well. I want to talk to you a little about how to help you keep her safe and healthy.”
Next came a standard discussion about the baby’s sleeping position and whether she’s got a car seat. Then, the next question:
“Do you have any guns in the home?”
Suddenly, the genial tone changed.
“I don’t think you should ask that question,” said the child’s father.
“Should I take that as a ‘yes’?” the intern pressed.
“I just don’t think you should ask.”
“Sir, we ask because we want to make sure that your baby is as safe as she can be, making sure you keep any guns locked up and away from her.”
“It’s none of your business.”
Dr. Rosenthal then goes on to bemoan how this conversation turned icy and it was all about the child’s safety and that asking parents about guns shouldn’t be political.
Well it is political. You know why? I’ll tell you.
Since this weekend of my Son’s 2nd birthday, I remember quite clearly what the doctors did and did not talk to us about. We had to watch a state mandated video in English and Spanish about shaken baby syndrome and why we shouldn’t shake our baby.
Our doctors did not ask if my guns were locked up.
Our doctors also did not ask if I put child safety latches on my kitchen cabinets or medicine cabinets to keep our baby about from household cleaners and medication, which is the cause of over 800,000 accidental poisonings per year in children under 2.
I was not asked if I have a pool or hot tub or if I put any sort of safety fence around them to combat the nearly 730 accidental childhood drownings deaths per year.
I was not asked if I had stairs in my home and if I put up baby gates around them to prevent my son from being one of the 100,000 children per year injured in a stair fall.
I was not asked if I had loose plastic bags around the house or how my child would sleep at night to reduce the risk that he would be one of the 20,000 children per year injured by accidental suffocation.
I wasn’t asked if I had electrical outlet covers or fire extinguishers in my home.
If I look at the CDC’s list of leading causes of injury deaths by age group unintentional firearm deaths don’t make an appearance until age 5, and it still ranks below suffocation, drowning, and fire/burns.
So, Dr. Rosenthal, if you are really interested in the safety of newborns under your care, do you ask about pools and tubs, pillows and plastic bags, chemicals and medication, or any of the other major causes of injury and death to infants and toddlers? Or do you just ask about guns?
If your answer is guns, then your motivations are 100% political. There is no other way to rationalize how you ignore ALL of the leading causes of injury and death for infants and toddlers to focus on the one politically controversial item.
If safety really was your goal, you would be better off asking parents if they have the detergent pods at home. Those little items are rapidly becoming a leading cause of injury to children because they look like gummy candy and the chemicals in them are highly concentrated.
But you are going to stick to the guns. This is the reason we don’t trust you on this issue.