Prom season is upon us! While you are planning for your big night, please make decisions to keep it safe.
“Living in rural East Texas makes prom night even more dangerous,” said attorney Jeff Weinstein. “Country roads, staying out late, dinner 20 miles away from home or the dance, teenagers drinking alcohol and driving, texting and driving, the list goes on and on. We know there is a chance that our children will not do as we have asked. I believe going over the rules is great but you may want to reduce the agreement to writing – a contract for the evening. You might also consider a car service, Uber or some other trusted adult being the chauffeur. Most of the tragedies revolve around driving so take that component out of the mix for the night.”
Here are some great tips from the CDC:
Follow directions, cautions, and warnings on products
If you’re changing hairstyles, hair color, and using new cosmetics or products, carefully follow all directions, cautions, and warnings on the label. Dyes and relaxers can hurt skin, hair, and eyes. Never dye eyebrows or eyelashes, as it might cause blindness. Always test a product in a small area of your body first. Allergies may happen the first time or after multiple uses. For some people, using cosmetics may cause itching, redness, rash, sneezing, or wheezing. Stop using the product if problems develop, and remove all products before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation. If in doubt, let the professionals handle it.
Wear appropriate shoes
High heels may be in style, but they can increase your chances of falling if they’re too high or uncomfortable, or not something you usually wear. Prevent injury and wear appropriate shoes that won’t affect how you walk or dance.
Plan ahead for safety
Tell family members or a trusted adult what your plans are ahead of time. Make an agreement with friends to check on one another during the evening. Be sure someone you trust is available for you to call if your plans change or you need help.
Just say no
Some people feel pressured to drink, smoke, use drugs, or have sex on prom night. However, drinking is responsible for over 4,500 deaths among young people each year and is associated with other problems like sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Alcohol and drugs hurt your judgment and may result in you being harmed or harming others. Just because others do something doesn’t make it a good idea or right for you. It’s OK to say no.
Teen drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. Always wear a safety belt — no matter how short the trip. Don’t drink and drive, and don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
Watch out for dating violence
Dating violence is a very real issue for many people. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples. It can occur in couples who have been together a long time and between people who just met. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family. The abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual. Know beforehand what your sexual boundaries are, and communicate those to your partner. Respect yourself and others, avoid alcohol and drugs, and tell family or call 911 if you or someone you know is being abused or is in danger.
Plan for after-prom parties
If you plan to go to an after-prom party, be sure it is adult-supervised. Be aware of your surroundings. And it’s always good to go with a “buddy”. Avoid using alcohol and drugs.
Make sure parents know where you are at all times in case of emergency. Call a parent, guardian, or someone you trust in case plans change or you need help.