Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (2023). 44(3), 216–223. SIEC No: 20231356
Background: While some suicide prevention initiatives distribute locking devices for firearms and medication, little evidence exists to guide the selection of devices. Aims: This study aimed to describe safety standards for locking devices and compare parental acceptance rates for different types of devices. Method: As part of the larger SAFETY Study, behavioral health clinicians provided free locking devices to parents whose child was evaluated in the emergency department (ED) for a suicide-related or behavioral health-related problem. For logistical reasons, we changed the specific devices offered midstudy. Data on device use came from follow-up interviews with 226 parents. Results: Few effective standards exist for locking devices for home use; we could easily break into some. At follow-up, twice as many gun-owning parents were using ED-provided handgun lockboxes as cable locks (28% vs. 14%, p = .02). Overall, 55% of parents reported using an ED-provided medication lockbox, with more using the drawer-sized lockbox than the larger, steel toolbox (60% vs. 42%, p < .01). Limitations: Storage outcomes are from parents' self-report and from one state only. Conclusion: Parents appeared to prefer some devices over others. Our findings suggest the need for (a) effective safety standards, (b) affordable devices meeting these standards, and (c) further research on consumer preferences to ensure use.