ASK THE DA: Prom season safety tips

May 3, 2013 Charles J. Hynes
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For parents and guardians the primary prom related concern is their child’s safety. The following is some advice for graduating seniors and their families on how to plan a safe and memorable celebration during this prom season.

It is important to keep in mind that, while this is an exciting time, families need to remain mindful about staying safe. Traffic deaths among teens are greater during this time of year. There are several things that you and your child can do to reduce the risk of being involved in a dangerous situation at prom time.

  • Who will be driving?  If driving themselves, keep a list of names and phone numbers for each teen along with their parents’ information.
  • Stress the importance of wearing seatbelts. Seventy percent of fatalities during prom weekends are due to teens not wearing their seatbelts.
  • If your child will be renting a limousine, you can check the company’s driving record and confirm that they will not allow alcohol to be brought into their vehicles.
  • Communicate with your child about how he or she would handle a situation such as being offered a ride by an intoxicated driver or being offered alcohol or drugs.
  • Have a very specific and detailed conversation with your teen about alcohol consumption, driving under the influence and drug use, as peer pressure often leads teens to use poor judgment before, during and after a prom.
  • Make sure that your child has phone numbers to trustworthy cab companies and enough money to cover the cost of a cab ride if it becomes necessary for any reason.
  • Let your teen know that he or she can call you for any reason that evening.  Remind your child that you will be there if he or she unexpectedly needs a ride home.
  • Alcohol consumption is illegal for persons under 21 years of age and can result in arrest, injury or worse.  Alcohol or drug intoxication generally leads to dangerous situations and poor judgment.  Your child should be made aware not to allow anyone in their car that has alcohol, drugs or weapons. Everyone in that car is at risk of harm and being arrested.

Finally, your child should be reminded to trust his or her instincts. If he or she feels endangered or uncomfortable for any reason, your child should leave.  Keeping these considerations in mind, I wish you and your family a happy and safe prom season that will be fondly remembered.

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