Do you take your infants / toddlers to the range?


September 30, 2005, 08:01 PM
Reason I ask is because I saw a bunch of guys shooting at the range today and one of them had his son in a stroller parked behind the firing line. The boy couldn't have been more than about two years old (couldn't even really speak coherently yet). Now, the (young) dad tended to his son quite a bit, but sometimes his son would fidget and slide his muffs off his head - all while the father and his friends were shooting ARs, SKSs, etc.

Just wanted to see how people with very young children deal with shooting as a hobby.

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September 30, 2005, 08:21 PM
Way to young big risk of hearing damage
waited on mine to be old enough to know whats going on and understand the rules thats for a gun range with range officer

September 30, 2005, 09:07 PM
and you can't shoot and baby-sit at the same time. I'll bet there was either NO eye protection or, like the muffs, it kept sliding off while daddy was playing.

Little kids don't belong at a range.

September 30, 2005, 09:53 PM
Lets not forget that the guy is tending to his infant son with lead particles all over his hands. You shouldnt even eat or smoke a cigarette at the range without washing your hands and your gonna handle a child?

September 30, 2005, 09:56 PM

Bad idea.

Tough to keep attention on shooting and the kids, and lack of attention to both could be tragic.

September 30, 2005, 11:36 PM
Idiot. He needs to take his parenting responsibilities seriously and sacrifice his play time.

My kids (2.5 and 11 months) stay at the house w/ Mom, G-ma, G-pa, Aunt, or etc... while I/we go shooting. It won't be too much longer and my 2.5 yr can come w/ us and shoot the .22, but she requires too much direct attention to be running around while we're shooting right now.

October 1, 2005, 12:47 AM
Second chance at natural selection?

October 1, 2005, 12:48 AM
My daughter was here last weekend with my 3 year old grandson. she asked if we could go to the range and I told her I would love to but the grandbaby could not go. She was a little upset but my grandson is my biggest worry not her feelings.

October 1, 2005, 12:53 AM
The range is a different story altogether. The resonance off of the concrete can bring a man to his knees if the ears are not protected let alone a child that doesn't and might never know any better thanks to dad.

I regularly take my boys 5 and 3 shooting with me, muffs and foam but OUTDOORS very controlled only one shooter at a time so the other(s) can watch etc.. they are normally in the bed of a truck behind the firing line.

Obviously the father doesn't remember firing the AR the first time without protection but I do and never again.

Thin Black Line
October 1, 2005, 01:04 AM
Bad idea for all the reasons above. Unless there's hearing protection
designed for infants and toddlers, nothing is going to provide a good
seal in/over their ears and they won't be able to tell you otherwise.

The lead and mercury (plenty of corrosive ammo is still in use) is a

But, yes, there are people who put their playtime over their kids anyway.

October 1, 2005, 01:26 AM
I take my 5 year old all the time. He went to the indoor range with us many times as an infant, but only in the lounge area - got him used to muffled gunshots. He has his own ear protection, knows the basic safety rules, and is a joy at the outdoor range. My son is very easy to watch, but we also assign one person to watch while the other shoots - we have no babysitter, so if we want to go shoot, he goes too.
He loves the range, and love watching me reload, and shooting my reloads. Soon I will get him his own 22...when I can afford one....

October 1, 2005, 08:50 AM
Bad idea. Too many health risks (ears, eyes, contaminants), and unless you want to watch him/her like a hawk, too many places and ways to get into trouble.

October 1, 2005, 09:12 AM
I have a 2.5 year old. No way would I take him to the range. He's just too young yet. I don't want him getting scared of it right away because of the loud noises and strange people. He wouldn't like it, and he wouldn't understand. I think anyone doing that is selfish, and don't want to give up their shooting time, so they drag the kid along with them. Be a parent and leave the toddlers at home, or don't shoot if you don't have anyone to watch them. If they aren't shooting, they shouldn't be going.

I'll probably start bringing him when he's 5 or 6, but that all depends on him. My 6 year old nephew, I wouldn't let anywhere NEAR a range, but I know some 5 year olds that could handle it. Think about it, if you have trouble with them doing what they're told AT HOME, then NO WAY should you bring them to the range, that is NOT the place for them if they don't pay attention and won't mind.

October 1, 2005, 09:51 AM
Our Daughter went to the out door informal range a couple of times as an infant. Mom sat in the car with her and read to her wile I was shooting. The sessions wern't very long as I was only doing load development. She has also been a couple of hunting trips when I was raod hunting, again, mom was with her in the car and the windows were rolled up when ever I was shooting. She is now 3, a couple weeks back we went up to the mountains with some friends. We did some plinking against a hill side. She has a set of youth muffs and saftey glasses. She sat in the bed of the truck and watched while we took turns shooting. We did always have at least one adult keeping an eye on her. When everyone else was taking a break, I did load up a single six and stood her in the line, she held it while I worked the action for her. She was very excited and to this day she still enthusiasictly tells people she shot 6 rounds out of daddy's gun.

She has a plastic cap gun that we work on the rules with her. She is pretty good, but not to the point where I would let her loose with a real gun. When she is, I am thinking 5 or so, I will get her a bearcat or somthing.

October 1, 2005, 10:23 AM

October 1, 2005, 10:26 AM

October 1, 2005, 10:28 AM
just plain dumb. Infants and toddlers require so much moment by moment attention, just to keep them out of trouble, that you would not have much time to shoot.
The biggest thing is the hearing damage issue. Alltogether, a boneheaded idea.

October 1, 2005, 12:23 PM
5 or 6 would probably be the youngest age I would consider.

October 1, 2005, 02:36 PM
[rant mode]

NO! Keep your little children away from adult activities like shooting! One of the things that bugs me the most is that new parents think that they can and should take the little darlings everywhere and the rest of us should have to modify our adult activities to make it safe for them. Some adult activities are NOT kidsafe and CAN'T be made kidsafe. Almost anything to do with firearms is one of those things. I can't tell you how many times I've seen activist parents try to force "kidsafeness" down the throats of people engaged in a lawful adult activity. It makes me want to scream!

Somewhere around 8 years old is about the right age to teach them to shoot, but even then they shouldn't be allowed free run of the normal range on any given day until they're old enough to understand the range's safety rules and take responsibility for themselves, say about 16. We don't trust them to drive a car alone before this age, why trust them with a loaded firearm? Have a "kids day" at the range if you must, or make one end of the range open to parents with kids. But PLEASE don't saddle me with your kids when I'm trying to enjoy an adult activity like shooting! :cuss:

Most of you here would monitor your kids closely and wouldn't let them bug other people and would make sure they're safe, but there are too many others that wouldn't. I see them every day, they have no clue where the kid is or what he's doing. Here in Arizona they let them bake to death in cars in the summer heat and let them drown in pools. There's no way to keep people like that out but let you responsible parents in. It's acutally been suggested here that you leave something of value, like a cell phone, near the kid so you won't forget them in the car. A cell phone? Valuable? Compared to your bloody kid? You want these people and their kids on a shooting range? I don't!

[rant mode/]

October 1, 2005, 03:47 PM
Nope. IMO, kids shouldn't be at the range until they are old enough to actively benefit from being at the range -- old enough to shoot (a minimum of 4, 5, 6 years old if the parents are very responsible and the kid is obedient), or at least old enough to be soaking up safety lessons.

Younger than that, there's not enough benefit to the child to balance the risks you are taking with noise & lead exposure.

Most of you here would monitor your kids closely and wouldn't let them bug other people and would make sure they're safe, but there are too many others that wouldn't. ... There's no way to keep people like that out but let you responsible parents in.

... Therefore, someone should pass a law or at least a rule which punishes responsible and irresponsible people alike and prevents even responsible parents from making their own parenting decisions.
[/implied conclusion]

I don't like that much. I understand the impulse, but I don't like it.


[i]Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them. -- P.J. O'Rourke


October 1, 2005, 11:07 PM
[implied conclusion to above quote]
... Therefore, someone should pass a law or at least a rule which punishes responsible and irresponsible people alike and prevents even responsible parents from making their own parenting decisions.
[/implied conclusion]

Well no, that's not what I was implying. In fact, it's exactly the opposite from where I stand. I'm not a "pass a law", or "make a rule" kind of person. But if you look at what's happening here in Arizona you can see where it's going. Now there's a law passed that forces everyone with a pool to have a fence, whether you have kids or not. How long will it be before a law is passed so that all cars will have some kind of "kid monitor" inside to prevent some idiot parent from baking their baby in the car? As far as I'm concerned if people want to drown, bake or find some other way to kill their children that's their problem and should be their responsibility. But I don't want to be punished myself, or limited in any way because some parents are a pack of irresponsible idiots.

But consider this. If one child, just one, get's killed or seriously injured at the range can you imagine the outcry? How about the parents? "It wasn't our fault, the rangemaster should have protected our child! Society let us down!". How long will that gun range stay open? And with parents that let their kids drown, or leave a baby (a baby for crying out loud!) in a closed and locked car for hours in 115 degree heat, just how much free reign can we give parents at something as inherently dangerous as a shooting range?

So I guess what I was implying, is "TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS SO WE DON'T HAVE TO PASS STUPIDLY RESTRICTIVE LAWS!". Let's police ourselves, keep very young kids away from the general range area, make special days for ones old enough to learn to shoot etc, etc. Let's not give anyone an excuse to marginalize our sport even more than it is. Because if people don't, then we'll have the laws and rules whether we like it or not, that's the nature of today's society. Besides, you've seen some of the morons on the range on open days, do you want your kids around them?

October 1, 2005, 11:37 PM
3rdpig ~

Now there's a rant I can get behind!

(Good post.)


We hardly find any persons of good sense, save those who agree with us. -- La Rochefoucauld

Thin Black Line
October 2, 2005, 02:59 AM
Laws typically don't keep people from making stupid decisions.

One could argue that simply taking little kids "to the range" is
comparatively safer than putting them on four-wheelers/snow mobiles
(which many people also defend as a decision-making right reserved for
parents). Statistics would also support them to some extent. Statistics
would also support that kids don't die from firing rocket launchers
--because so few do in the first place. At this point in time, there are
very few little kids who go to public shooting ranges --probably because
most parents have the sense not to bring them in the first place. The
statistics would likely change for the worse, though, if there was a sudden
increase in this young population on the range.

However, change the statement to "I take my five year out while I'm
using a chain-saw to cut down trees" and the tune would probably
change for most people here. At least I hope it would. Yet, the
same logic would apply. You can't supervise the child alone and
you would also be more wary of the wild-*ssed stuff that could
potentially happen and say "no way" when it comes to the chainsaw.
How is it different at the range with other people there?

I've seen plenty of people doing stupid stuff with their kids out at
public ranges --including middle/high school students. The kids
frequently handled firearms while their parent(s) were downrange
putting up targets, including pointing the weapons. Try to say
anything to people about their lack of supervision and kids' unsafe
handling practices and you get the immediate knee-jerk "It's my
right and don't YOU @#$%! tell me how to raise my kids!"

So law or not, these people are going to do it anyway. Maybe I
could ask them to "well-organise their militia" a little better?

Marko Kloos
October 2, 2005, 07:49 AM
Nope...munchkin stays at home until he's old enough to comprehend instruction. Also, airborne lead and gunshot noise are Not A Good Thing for a developing seven-month old, or any toddler or infant.

October 2, 2005, 11:17 AM
Wow, I can see this is heating up, but allow me to make a point or two and hopefully not draw too much heat because of it.

I do agree that an organized range is not the best place to take a child; however, like I stated above, my child has, does and will again go shooting with us. The US is the key word there, we are a family of shooters and shooting is a family event. We do not let her run rampant, chase butterfies, pick up pine cones, or go squeeling off into the night like little girls like to do when we are shooting. We do not go to organized ranges. We only go to safe areas, away from other people out on public land. Somtimes the desert, somtimes to the pine trees. While shooting is comenced, at least one adult is with her at all times. Usually in the back of the truck with her toys or in the vehicle with somone reading to her or letting her "color" on her books. She is never alone and unsupervised. When we feel it is OK to give her some exposure, ALL of the adults stop shooting and I let her hold what ever it is while I manipulate the action. As soon as we are done shooting, the guns are secured out of her reach, the ammo is usually seperated in a different vehicle and then we let her be a kid and explore nature.

As posted in a different thread:

"Sounds like another case for education. TEACH your kids. Take the mystery away."

I was raised with guns, I am raising my child with guns. I do not want her to be affraid of them or not feel confident in her ability to use one if needed. Additionally, I do not want her be the "currious kid so I have to play with it" child. By the time she is older, she will have more understanding about guns and the potential harm one can cause with them not too mention a deeper reaspect and more developed skillset than most adults I see out there today.

Just my .22 caliber bullets worth.

Now please bear with me while put on a pair of nomex undies.

October 2, 2005, 12:57 PM
yeager: You saying it's safe to smoke a cigarette after you've washed your hands? ;)

Sir Aardvark
October 2, 2005, 02:02 PM
If they're not old enough to take an active part in the range activities then they have no business being there.

October 2, 2005, 02:24 PM
Maybe the dad doesn't know about the problems with lead. If I wasn't a member of forums and such I wouldn't know. I don't see how the range officer or if there is no officer, cashier, let the guy take his child out there. They are pretty strict at the ranges I go too.

October 2, 2005, 03:17 PM

October 2, 2005, 04:08 PM
And possibly older, depending on the kid.

0-1: Bigtime concerns of hearing damage, noise trauma. Basically, you'd have a helpless proto-person strapped to a stroller pooping their diapers every time a round went off.

Incidentally, the startle reflex is one of the few root BIOS routines we're born with.

1-3: Once they're mobile, they're impossible to corral. Still too young to rely of them keeping their protective gear in place, this is the age they're most likely to take off down range. :what:

If you don't think a toddler will take off downrange, then you've never had to care for a toddler.

Furthermore, their communications and understanding is extremely limited, and they can wind up with some VERY strange ideas as to what's going on.

4-5: At this stage in the game, they're getting a bit more solid, but they're still unpredictable enough that I'd not risk it.

5+: Evaluate the kid seriously, and act accordingly.

October 2, 2005, 04:17 PM
The father may have been attentive, but if the child keeps moving and sliding off the muffs, it's a bad decision on his part. Gun ranges aren't day cares and I can't say I'd want my child exposed to the lead. He's not washing his hands before he touches his child is he?

October 2, 2005, 06:37 PM
Only time I've taken my daughter to the range was when my wife was evaluating some pistol options with my then-FFL. We took turns shooting, and the whoever had baby duty was inside a range building well away from the firing line. You could barely, if at all, tell there was a shooting range right outside. Otherwise she's always stayed with mom or a babysitter if mom was joining me.

+1 on what geek said. Especially If you don't think a toddler will take off downrange, then you've never had to care for a toddler.

Thin Black Line
October 3, 2005, 03:57 AM
I wouldn't consider being in the range building or elsewhere at a camp
ground feeding the ducks with mom as "being at the range" ie, the
firing line.

October 3, 2005, 05:40 AM
Hell No!

Kramer Krazy
October 3, 2005, 11:14 AM
Not the outdoor range, but I take my 9-month old daughter to the indoor range all the time, but........she stays in the lobby or lounge/TV room and my wife and I take turns tending to her while the other shoots. Before we swap, the one that just returned from the range cleans up. We probably do this at least once a month.

rock jock
October 3, 2005, 11:28 AM
Actually, I would have told the dad to remove the kid from the range or I would call the police. The son should not have to live with permanent hearing damage because of a stupid, ignorant father.

October 3, 2005, 08:04 PM
Hi all,

From practical experience, you watch your sub-six year old, or you can watch your rifle. Both need full attention and you can't do both at the same time.

Pick one or the other, and let safety rule.


October 3, 2005, 10:22 PM
I agree with Rock Jock, that guy was negligent. I hope his kidis not deaf because of what happened to him.

October 5, 2005, 01:56 AM
yeager: You saying it's safe to smoke a cigarette after you've washed your hands?

just the one ;)

October 5, 2005, 07:13 PM
Here's a pic of my 4 year at the trap range. He's a great trapper, and hull scrounger. Loves pushing the buttons when my 11yo daughter and I shoot skeet. (She cocks and loads the clays on the machine, he pulls the handle, most the time when you call pull, other times when he's just darn good and ready and you're not. :D )

On the rifle range, he sits in chair behind the yellow line while his sister shoots the short-stocked Marlin 60 I've got for them. When it's his turn, I hold the rifle, he sits on my lap, aims, and pulls the trigger. He really likes shooting ballons and clay pigeons. Granted, I'm not shooting, they are. So, I'm always watching him. Never had a problem with him farting around crossing the yellow line or taking his eyes/ears off while the range is HOT. In fact he won't take them off until we are off the range.

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