The Madison County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the (CDC) Center of Disease Control is offering the following safety tips to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Prom Night. Prom night is one of the most exciting and memorable time in a teen’s life. Unfortunately for parents it is one of the scariest. Prom night always seems to be linked with drunken-driving injuries and deaths, date rapes, pregnancies and STDs. It’s become the night where teens’ poor judgment and dangerous choices have become institutionalized. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children and encourage some of the following safety tips.
Tell your children to keep you up to date with their itinerary for the evening, including whom they will be with, where they’ll be going after the prom and the phone numbers where you can contact them. "We’ll just be driving around" is not an acceptable response. Agree on a curfew, based upon your children’s past level of responsibility in this area. Express your concerns about their health and safety and explain to them why prom night makes it more difficult to make safe and smart decisions. Don’t be vague - discuss drinking, drugging, driving under the influence, and sex. Ask your child what they would say in different situations, such as being offered alcohol or another illegal drug, being offered a ride by an intoxicated driver, or pressure to have sex. Reinforce your belief in their character and in their ability to act responsibly.
If your children are planning to attend an after prom party make sure you know the location. If this party is at other kids’ houses speak directly with their parents to make certain someone will be there to supervise and ask if they are allowing drinking in their homes. Many parents believe that as long as they "take keys" in a situation like this that underage drinking is permissible in their houses. This should not be allowed, in fact it is illegal.
If they’re not driving themselves, you must know who’ll be driving them. No matter how times in the past you have had to talk, reinforce the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, let them know that these dangers are particularly high on prom night. Make sure they keep an eye on their driver. Alcohol slows reaction time and impairs vision, clear thinking, judgment, and coordination. After the red light turns green, wait a second before pulling into the intersection, just to be safe. Let them know that if they feel uncomfortable with their situation they can call you for a ride. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury in teenagers nationwide. Don’t let them forget their seat belt! 70% of teens killed on prom weekends were not wearing seat belts.
Consider arranging specific check-in times, and make sure you can contact your teen throughout the entire night. Tell your child that they can call you at any time for a ride, help or advice. That includes picking them up at any time of day or night, with a promise not to shame or humiliate them in front of others.
Talk to your children about some of the above safety tips and help make sure prom night is a positive experience your children will always remember.