Season 1: Episode 10

Hope and Will: A Parenting Podcast from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

"Is There an Unlocked Gun in the Home?"

For their family’s spring break, Julvonnia McDowell and her husband drove their sons to Savannah to spend time with family. Four days into their trip, she received a terrifying phone call from her oldest son: His little brother had been shot. A cousin had found a loaded gun hidden in a clothes drawer. Assuming it was empty, he unintentionally fired it, sending a bullet into his cousin’s chest. Julvonnia’s baby boy, whom she called her rosebud, didn’t survive. Today, she’s on a mission to empower parents to not shy away from asking others about the potential presence of unsecured firearms. We’ll also hear from Kiesha Fraser Doh, MD, a Children’s emergency medicine physician, who’s cared for many children unintentionally injured by unsecured guns—often at the hands of other children. Learn what you can do to avoid experiencing the same heartbreak as Julvonnia and so many other parents.

Originally Aired: March 23, 2023

Julvonnia McDowell

Julvonnia still winces when she refers to her youngest son in the past tense. He was killed in a home she believed was safe with people she trusted. Now she urges parents to step out of their comfort zone to have direct conversations about safe gun storage—whether with new acquaintances or close friends and family.

Dr. Kiesha Fraser Doh, Pediatric Emergency Physician

As co-chair of the Children’s Injury Prevention Program (CHIPP), Kiesha Fraser Doh, MD, has a particular passion for firearm injury prevention. After more than 10 years in our emergency departments, she has cared for dozens of patients—from toddlers to late teens—injured by unsecured guns.

Lynn Smith

Lynn Smith is a veteran journalist, podcast host and mom of two boys. Her experience as the parent of a patient at Children’s inspired her to advocate for spreading awareness of childhood illnesses and injuries.

Georgia Mom Urges Safe Firearm Storage

“The word ‘was’ is particularly hard for me. Because when you start every statement about your child with ‘he was,’ life will never be the same.”

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