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A parent's guide to keeping teens safe on prom night

As prom season approaches once again, it's important to stress safety issues to parents to make sure that their teens have a safe prom experience.

Sadly, sometimes parents become part of the safety problem by either turning a blind eye to dangerous prom activities or actively promoting them. Some parents have been known to purchase liquor for underage prom-goers or rent hotel rooms for after-prom partying.

These are bad precedents to set, as not only can teens be injured in auto accidents from driving while intoxicated or riding with another impaired driver, but they can set their teens up for involvement in sexual exploitation.

Parents should take steps to ensure that unsupervised teens aren't gathering at parties held after the prom where alcohol and drugs are being used. This might entail agreeing to host an alcohol-free, chaperoned after-party at their home or a rented venue hall.

Social media updates and posts can alert parents to forbidden plans on prom nights. Offering safer but still fun alternatives to these unsafe activities is vital to keeping teens safe during prom and graduation season.

Parents should counsel their teens to make them aware that they can always call home for a ride or assistance when things go south on prom night. Even if the teen is intoxicated, parents should agree to provide them with transportation that night without recriminations.

Below are some additional tips for parents of teens attending the prom.

-- Make sure that your teen leaves home with a charged cellphone and its charger.

-- Discourage teens from posting any compromising photos on social media on prom night.

-- Network with other parents to get the scoop on post-prom activities.

-- Gather cellphone numbers of your children's friends and their parents.

-- Ask your teen to check in via phone at specific times during the night.

If your child is injured in a prom night accident, it might be necessary to take legal action against those responsible for any injuries or damages.

Source: MLive, "Prom night dangers: How not to end up in the ER, jail or on social media," Monica Scott, accessed April 29, 2016

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