• Make sure your child and, ideally, you know their date. If it’s a fix-up, ask them to meet beforehand in a public space to confirm that they seem okay. Remind them that it’s best not to be alone with anyone they don’t know well.
• For many teenagers, the prom itself is just one stop in a night that begins with dinner and may end the next day after brunch. Make sure you know your child’s agenda and approve of every stop.
• While you’re sure to earn some eye-rolling, it’s worth asking your teenager to rehearse how they’d react if offered alcohol or drugs.
• While you’re at it, reiterate that sex isn't something to be undertaken impulsively or lightly. Prom lasts one night; pregnancy and STD s don’t.
• The biggest danger teens face on prom night is auto accidents, either because the driver has been drinking or is simply distracted by a carload of exuberant pals.
• According to the National Highway Travel Safety Administration when someone drinks and drives, they are not only more likely to get into an accident; the accident is more likely to be severe, and the passenger is less likely to wear a seat-belt. If you can’t afford a limo, tell your child you will be available at all hours to take their phone call and pick them and their friends up – no questions asked.
• Don’t let your child out the door without a cell phone (yours if they do not have one).
If your kids complain that you’re taking all the fun out of a night that comes once in a lifetime, remind them that it’s your job to make sure that lifetime is as long as possible. The fun is their responsibility.
For more information on talking to your teens and keeping them safe please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or email@example.com. You can also visit the coalition’s website at www.vbsafecoalition.com.
*Adapted from an article by Hannah Boyd titled “Keeping Prom Night Safe”.