Are your teens in danger on prom night?

Parents of teens attending this year's prom — perhaps because of their own less-than-stellar behavior on prom night many years ago — may have legitimate concerns about the dangers their teenagers could face on such a heady night.

After all, prom night is the culmination of high school for this year's seniors, as well as a treasured rite of passage for teens. Depriving your son or daughter of the chance to go to prom with friends or a date could definitely be overkill. Still, parents are right to worry about their teens getting injured, assaulted, arrested — or even killed — on prom night.

It happens every year, sadly. But parents don't have to just pray or wring their hands in angst. They can be proactive and insist on a safer prom environment for their kids.

Parents, your ban on alcohol or drug usage on prom night should be non-negotiable. The illegalities aside, putting impaired teenagers behind the wheel and on the roads late at night with a carful of revelers is a recipe for disaster. Insist on a sober prom night for your child.

Also, consider splurging on a limo ride to and from dinner, the dance and the after-prom party. Perhaps you and some of your teen's friends' parents can share the cost to make it more reasonable. The goal here is to avoid your teenager driving or sharing a ride with another teen driver. At least you will know that the limo or party bus driver is commercially licensed to ferry passengers.

Understand, too, that even the best-intentioned teens can wind up in situations that escalate quickly and get out of control. Make a pact with your teen that the moment they feel uncomfortable in a situation, they can call or text you immediately, and you will provide a safe and sober ride home with no recriminations. Then, the two of you can sort it out the next day after a good night's rest.

If your teen gets injured in a prom night collision, make sure that you take the necessary steps to help them preserve their rights to seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver.

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Reinig, Barber & Henry - Attorneys at Law

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