Prom night is the most magical night of the year for many teens. Planning and preparation for prom can begin months in advance. It’s typically the biggest social event of the high school year. However, many prom nights have ended in tragedy. To ensure everyone has a safe prom night, parents and guardians need to talk with their teens regarding prom night safety.
Make it an alcohol-free night. Underage drinking and illegal substances not only are dangerous, they’re illegal. There are serious, even deadly consequences for driving under the influence. Passengers should never get into a car with someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Tell teens to stay out of the car of an impaired driver, find a sober driver or call you for a ride. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2008, 25 percent of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or higher.”
Discuss the school’s prom night policies. Obtain a copy of the school’s prom night policies instead of simply asking the teen what rules have been set for the event. If parents/guardians have a copy of the policies, they know everything their teens are expected to do or not to do during prom night activities. Discuss these policies together. What is the prom’s time frame? Are students allowed to leave the prom at any time? Is there a school-sponsored after-prom?
Set strict guidelines for after-prom activities. Well in advance of prom night, parents/guardians must set guidelines, including curfew, for after-prom activities. These must be conveyed to the teen’s date as well. It can be helpful to sit down with your teen, his or her date and the date’s parents/guardians to discuss activities, including after-prom activities.
Many schools offer a safe, alcohol-free after party. It may be held at the school or at another local venue. Typically, it begins about 30 minutes after the prom ends. Students attending after-prom enter at the designated start time and must remain at the event until it is over, usually 5 or 6 a.m. This type of chaperoned event can help keep many lives safe.
If the teens plan to attend a party not held by the school or a community group, be certain it is a parent-chaperoned party without alcohol. Remember, even on prom night, teens younger than 18 must abide by the state’s driving curfew laws.
Other prom night safety tips.
- Know who is driving to and from prom events and know who the passengers are.
- Always contact parents or guardians immediately if plans change.
- Help your teen(s) prepare ways to respond to offers of alcohol or other dangerous substances.
- Talk to your teen about proper behavior and safe sex. Remind them that it is OK to say no.
- Remind teens never to accept drinks from anyone they do not know or trust and never leave a drink unattended.
- Never leave possessions unattended or in an unlocked area.
- Always carry a cell phone for emergencies.