How to help make sure your teens and college students make it out of a lively celebration alive.
New Year's Eve takes on new meaning for parents of teenagers and college students. Suddenly, what used to be a fun, celebratory holiday is filled with anxiety and worry. Will your kids drink and drive? Will they put themselves at risk? Many of us cringe at the stupid things we used to do as teenagers and hope and pray that our own children won't be as reckless as we were. (And, yes, we're aware that the legal drinking age is 21 -- but we're also painfully aware many teens don't abide by this.)
Here are some pointers to help teens have a safe New Year's Eve:
Invite their friends to your house: If they're under your roof, you can keep a closer eye on them. But if you have a party, lock away the booze. Not only is alcohol dangerous for teens, "Parents can be held liable for providing alcohol to minors," Glynn Birch, national president of MADD, told momlogic. "MADD suggests checking the social host laws in your states. Social Host Liability is a law that imposes potential liability on adults as a result of their serving alcohol to minors who subsequently are involved in crashes causing death or injury to third parties."
Explain the importance of a designated driver: And, also, make sure your kids know never to accept a drink from someone they don't know.
Tell them when in doubt, take a cab: Make sure teens have enough money for cab fare, and make them program the number of the local cab company in their cell phone. Worried that your kids will blow the cash? Some cab companies, such as the St. Louis Yellow Cab Company, sell gift certificates. (What a great idea!)
Find out about free rides in your city: Some cities such as Colorado Springs and Georgia offer free public transportation on New Year's Eve. If you live in Alameda, Oakland, or Berkeley, California, Berg Injury Lawyers will pick up your cab fare through their Safe and Sober Free Cab Ride Home program. Google "New Year's Eve" and "free ride home" to see if there is a similar program in your area. Once you gather the facts, make sure your teens know all their options.
Tell teens it's OK to call you: Lastly, make sure your teens know that they can call you any time day or night no matter what. So many teens put themselves in dangerous situations because they think their parents will "kill them" if they call home drunk. Let your teen know that you'd rather they call home than put themselves in a dangerous situation. You just want them to get home safe rather than risk their lives by drinking and driving or getting in the car with someone who's been drinking.
We here at momlogic hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve, and a great 2009!