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Keeping Your Kids Safe at Prom

It's no secret that prom season is one of the riskiest times of year for teens. Teen traffic deaths, for example, are higher now than even summer vacation. The National Highway Traffic Safety PromAdministration says that roughly 300 teens die every year during prom weekend due to alcohol-related car crashes. Even worse, 1/3 of young adult and teen deaths involving drinking and driving occur during graduation season and prom weekend. So why is it that 10% of parents interviewed by the American Medical Association believe it's perfectly OK for underage teens to attend graduation AND prom parties where alcohol is being served? And more importantly, how can we prevent these needless tragedies? For starters, you need to have a serious discussion with your teen before prom. That means getting a complete, detailed itinerary—who they'll be with, where they're going, and multiple contact numbers in case you need to reach them. That also means reaching a mutual agreement on a curfew. Remember to underline just how dangerous drinking and driving can be on prom night, when distractions are high and can add up to a recipe for disaster. Make it perfectly clear that they must not be driven by anyone who has drank or used drugs, and ensure your chosen limo service has a strict no-alcohol policy in their vehicles. And if your teen isn't coming straight home after prom, you need to guarantee some sort of line of communication at all times, no matter where they are and who they're with. Set up a handful of mandatory check-in calls with your teen at various points through the night, even if they're heading to a party or a friend's house afterward. The second half of this open line of communication is that your teens need to feel no shame in calling you for help at any point, for any reason. Hopefully they won't need to ask for your help, but in the event of an emergency you always want that option on the table—free of stress or condemnation on your part. Regardless of where your kids are going or how late they're staying out, having an open, candid conversation with them is your best bet at avoiding prom season mishaps and making your teen's prom as safe, fun and memorable as possible. #promseason #drinkingatprom #teendriving

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