Safety Tips for Parents
Bring Your Teenager Home Safe This Prom & Graduation Season
Prom and graduation are long-time high school traditions are often considered a rite of passage into adulthood. They are both very important to a teenager. Often, prom and graduation represent the end of adolescence and the beginning of the student’s next phase of life. It is a time for celebration.
DID YOU KNOW: Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol related. – NHTSA
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of young people across the nation. The risk of a fatal motor vehicle crash is higher among 16 to 19 year olds than among any other age group. Teen crashes are most often the result of driver distraction, inexperience, speeding, and failure to yield. In addition, teenagers have a greater risk of death from an alcohol-related crash than the overall population. Historically, the months of April, May, and June are the most dangerous times for teenagers.
Parents need to talk to their teenagers about these real dangers. Here are some helpful tips for parents to help them make sure their child stays safe.
- Who’s Driving? Who will be responsible for driving the entire time? Is it your child, a friend, a parent, a family member, a designated driver, or a limo? Make sure your teen has money to cover alternative transportation, like a cab, if needed.
- Limit Passengers. Limit the number of passenger in the car to reduce driver distractions (speeding, changing radio, eating, texting, cell phone usage, etc.) and to ensure there are enough seatbelts.
- Set Itinerary. Have a set itinerary and be on time. Know where your teen is, how long they will be there, when they will be leaving, who is there, and who is supervising the event. Set a curfew to elevate unaccounted blocks of time. Do not deviate from itinerary unless getting approval from a parent. Parents should be up when the teenager arrives home.
- Contact Information. Make sure you and your teen have a way of contacting each other throughout the evening. Get a list of names and phone numbers of anyone who will be with your teenager.
- Event Supervision. Know where the events are being held and who is supervising the events that your teen will be attending.
- No Drinking or Drugs. Make sure your teen knows that drugs or alcohol are not allowed at any time, including at the party or in the vehicles. Absolutely under no circumstances are you to drink and drive and you must not accept any rides from someone who has been drinking and driving or has taken any legal or illegal drugs. It’s not only unsafe, it’s illegal.
- Do Not Buy Alcohol. Parents should never buy alcohol for their teenager. It is illegal and sends the wrong message that it is okay and safe to drink underage. Drinking can lead to an accident, injury, alcohol poisoning, and drinking and driving.
- No Hotel Rooms. Parents are discouraged from renting hotel rooms for their teenagers. If a room is rented, an appropriate adult must be present to ensure safety and manage risk.
The more we do to raise awareness, the safer our teenagers will be.
This can be a stressful time for parents. Parents must, however, provide leadership, guidance, and set the rules. Communicate with your teen this prom and graduation season about the dangers of auto accidents, drunk driving, underage drinking, and distracted driving to keep them safe.