Here's how to help make sure that 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. (Yes, we know that the legal drinking age is 21 -- but we're also painfully aware that many teens don't abide by it.)
Here are some pointers to help teens have a safe New Year's Eve:
1) Have them 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, but "Parents can be held liable for providing alcohol to minors," says Glynn Birch, national president of MADD. "MADD suggests checking the social host laws in your state. 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."
2) Explain the importance of having a designated driver. Also, make sure your kids know never to accept a drink from someone they don't know.
3) Tell them, "When in doubt, take a cab." Make sure teens have enough money for cab fare, and have them program the number of the local cab company into their cell phones. 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!
4) Find out about free-ride programs in your city. Some cities 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.
5) Tell teens that it's always OK to call you. Make sure your teens know that they can call you anytime, day or night -- no matter what. Many teens put themselves into dangerous situations because they think their parents will "kill them" if they call home drunk. Let your teens know that you just want them to get home safe, and that you'd rather they call you than risk their lives by drinking and driving themselves or by getting into a car being driven by someone who's drunk.
We at momlogic hope that everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve, and a great 2011!