According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of all the alcohol-related fatalities involving teens each year, about one-third of them take place during April, May and June - prom and graduation season.
As we approach the days of corsages, slow dances, mortar boards and “Pomp and Circumstance,” it is important to also keep safety in mind.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer some advice as partygoers begin preparing for the big night. They suggest getting in shape slowly by cutting out junk food and gradually increasing activity to 60 minutes a day rather than trying crash diets and jumping into excessive exercise. They caution against the use of tanning beds. The CDC also advises teens that the excitement surrounding prom can lead to risky choices, such as drinking, drug use, unprotected sex, and date rape.
Family therapist Carleton Kendrick encourages parents to have a talk before prom reminding the high schoolers that you want them to have a good time, but that you also want to make sure they are safe. Key components of the conversation include: getting an itinerary for the evening, confirming who will be driving, reiterating that is non-negotiable for the driver to remain drug and alcohol free all evening, establishing mandatory call-in times throughout the festivities and providing an offer to pick them up at any time with the promise that you won’t humiliate them in front of their friends or shame them once they get in the car. This unconditional offer should be extended for graduation parties as well.