(WMC-TV) - Le Bonheur Children's Hospital has seen an increasing number of shootings in the last two years. ER doctors now want to warn parents about gun safety.
Doctors say in 2010 and 2011, the hospital treated fewer than 20 children each year with gunshot wounds. That number doubled to 40 in 2012 and 2013.
Alicia Harp has two small children, ages 1 and 2 years old. She says their safety is always on her mind.
"They can get into anything," she said.
What is also on her mind is the number of kids admitted to Le Bonheur with gunshot wounds last year.
According to Le Bonheur, every day, almost 20 children or teens are hospitalized in the United States for gunshot wounds.
"As a nation, we are seeing decreased numbers and in some places, maybe higher numbers," said Le Bonheur Director of Injury Prevention Susan Helms.
Already in 2014, a 14-year-old was shot by a stray bullet on Enterprise Avenue. A 3-year-old was hit by a stray bullet at Peppertree Apartments. And on Jenwood Street, a 15-year-old was accidentally shot in the head.
With the increase of gun-related injuries happening to children in Memphis, investigators want to know how the child got his or her hands on a gun in the first place.
"It's very unfortunate because I don't think that parents really understand that having a gun in the home, whether it's for protection or whatever, may just be a curiosity for a young child," said Helms.
Helms says the best solution is to not keep guns at home. If you do, do not store them in a place that is easy for a child to find. Keep them out of sight, locked up, and put a child-resistant gun lock on them.
"Because, if not, a child can find it, and it can become a tragedy in a matter of seconds," she added.