Prom night can be a magical time for your teen. It can also be a stressful time for you, as your child is out on the town with other teens.
The fear you may have for your teen's safety isn't unfounded. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found teens are three times more likely to get in a fatal car crash than an adult. What's more, that risk increases when there are other teens present in the car.
As a parent, there's only so much you can do while your teen is away from home. Following some of these tips, though, can go a long way to keeping your child safe.
1. Know the law
In Nevada, teens can obtain their driver's license when they're 16. They cannot, however, drive anyone under the age of 18 for the first six months after receiving a license. The only exception is immediate family members.
If your teen isn't driving, make sure you know who is driving, and how long that person has had a license. An inexperienced driver increases the risk of an accident.
2. Use a rideshare service
Consider having your child use Uber, Lyft or a cab to get to and from the dance and other activities. This may seem like an expensive option, depending on how far away each activity is, but it eliminates any situation in which your teen is in the car with another teen driver.
3. Host an after party
"Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver," according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Hosting an after party is a great way to ensure your teen can have a good time after the dance in an alcohol-free environment. Both you and your teen may balk at this idea at first, but BeTheParents.org suggests several ways to make it fun.
As a side note, if you are thinking of hosting an after party with alcohol, know serving alcohol to a minor is illegal in Nevada.
Make sure you and your teen know what the plan is for the night. Get as many details as possible, and ask your teen to let you know if something changes. Know who your child is going to be with and what their phone numbers are in case you can't get ahold of your teen.
5. Have a 'no questions asked' policy
If your teen has made a mistake and doesn't feel comfortable reaching out to you for help, you probably won't be contacted when needed. Your teen needs to know she or he can text or call you regardless of the circumstance, without fear of retribution. If you make this clear, your child is less likely to make even bigger mistakes, or to become a victim of someone else's.
The bottom line
There's only so much you can control on prom night, but it's important you are actively involved in what you can control, instead of what you can't.
If an accident does happen, you'll need an attorney you can trust. The attorneys at Ed Bernstein & Associates have more than 40 years of experience in personal injury law and understand its finer nuances. Visit edbernstein.com or call (702) 240-0000 to find out how to get started on the road to recovery.