Funny pictures of kids playing with tampons, condoms, and bras are really about gun safety.
You know how kids are. They'll pretty much play with anything they come across that they find interesting.
Sometimes the things they find are embarrassing but funny.
Things like condoms that look strikingly similar to balloons.
And tampons and pads. I mean, one turns tiny fingers into talons and the other has adhesive backs. What could be more fun?!
And lingerie. It's colorful, after all.
We definitely can't forget the sex toys. Bright, sword-like, and battery operated, what kid could resist?
I'm willing to bet the farm that there are some fellow parents out there who have a story or two about their kiddos finding any of these items. (I know I'm not alone, whether anyone else will admit it or not!)
But these ads aren't about the funny and sometimes embarrassing things our children discover and appropriate for toys.
Not even close. These were created to make a point.
You know what else might look like an interesting new toy to a child who stumbles upon it?
Yep, that's right. A gun. What makes it any less intriguing to a young child than condoms or sex toys?
The answer is nothing, which is why it's so important to lock up guns to prevent kids from ever getting their hands on them. Storing a gun in a place you don't think kids will find it isn't effective.
Kids are like tiny detective ninjas. They can find anything, particularly when it's not meant for them.
And that's what motivated Evolve, the organization behind these ads, to create them.
The fact is that right now, at this very moment, lots of people own guns. In fact, a recent survey found that about a third of American adults live in a household where one or more guns is present. And that means that plenty of kids live in homes with guns, too.
So don't be distracted: There's no gun control or Second Amendment debate here. We need to talk about how to keep those kids safe — right now, right where they are.
"Yes, there's a raging gun debate out there. But no matter how loud anyone is yelling whatever they're yelling, everyone can agree, we can be safer. Right, responsible gun owner? Right, left-leaning senator? Right, Mom?
We're thinking America can stop shooting itself in the foot. We're thinking everyone can pause the debate for a sec and pay attention to one simple thing: somewhere out there is an unlocked, loaded gun. Don't we all want to reach it before a 3-year-old does?"
Rebecca Bond, one of the founders of Evolve, shared this with me:
"There is a code that parents live by and expect others to uphold as well. To keep children safe. Parents generally expect others to have an even higher code with other people's children. An unsecured gun found by a child is 100% avoidable. ...
Leaving a child around an unsecured firearm is the equivalent of leaving them in a room with a running chainsaw and hoping they make the right choice. ...
We need this discussion to be occurring in homes and among friends and families. Make a choice to buy a gun or not based on your personal choice. Safe handling and securement you do for everyone.
An organization called Project ChildSafe distributes gun lock safety kits across the country. If you have a gun in your home, use their interactive map to find an agency they work with in your state to get a kit to secure it.
While we don't know exactly how many children are involved in accidental shootings each year, one thing is for certain: They happen. "No matter what, we all live with guns and this is everyone's conversation," Bond told me.
We adults can debate gun ownership all day long, but while we're doing it, it's important to make sure guns are secure and don't get in the hands of those curious, creative, oblivious children that we love so much. That's something none of us want them to happen.