Teen Talk, March 14, 2013: Spring Break 2013

Spring Break
Posted at 6:30 AM, Mar 14, 2013
and last updated 2014-07-14 12:13:45-04
Teen Talk, 03-14-13, Spring Break 2013
Spring break is upon us once again and as a conscientious parent I think it would be very important to go over spring break safety tips as we are about to approach this coming week.  Please give us your tips for a happy and healthy spring break. 
 As parents it’s important to understand the importance of keeping teens safe during a week where they are at a higher risk to experiment with alcohol than any other time of the year.  The unfortunate statistic is that spring break has the highest number of alcohol related injuries and deaths than any other time of the year. Panama City is expecting record numbers of both college students and high school students during the same week so if your youngsters’ are away from home certainly there can sometimes be undue influence.  With that in mind, let’s break this down into four groups.  Out of town tips, beach tips, drinking tips, and general safety tips.
1.       When taking a trip out of town, make sure you and/or your teen has a roadside emergency kit.  Does your child know how to change a tire? Jump start a car? Have a safety check done on the car before leaving town. Make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up.
2.        If you’re taking an out of town trip, stay with groups, especially going to and leaving from events.  Safety in numbers always makes sense.
3.       Choose a hotel room on floors 2 through 6 to avoid break ins and make any potential fire exit safer.  Choose a safe hotel in the center of the action.
4.       It is important for teens to bring as few valuables as possible. Make sure a chaperone is in charge of the valuables including travel documents and money.
Beach tips include:
5.       Do not go swimming if there are no lifeguards.  Life guards are aware of vital information of the surrounding beaches or lakes, particularly in foreign countries, this is often missed.  Remember life guards are typically trained for scenarios and situations which could occur in areas you are not familiar with.
6.       Always be aware of the weather.  Knowing what is under the water is common sense but knowing how to read the weather is crucial.  So everyday always be aware of weather concerns.
7.       Be cautious in the sun.  Always use sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher and apply before going out for the day.  Reapply as necessary. Remember that sun exposure can be dangerous.
8.       If you are participating in any kind of sport or recreational activity, make sure you are using the appropriate safety gear.  Helmets, knee pads, life jackets.  All of these are useful.
Drinking tips:
9.       Stay with bottled drinks.  No matter where you are, whether you are with friends or potential new friends, remember girls frequently fall victim to using date rape drugs in their drinks.  Always head out on dates with a girlfriend and have her watch your drink.  No matter what the drinks are.  If you are at a big function, return the favor, if a person gets up to dance, make sure you are always aware of what is happening with anything that you put in your mouth.
10.   Always have a designated driver.
11.   Have an honest discussion with your teen regarding alcohol.  It is often readily available to underage partyers, especially at the beach or even in foreign countries. 
12.   Watch for signs of predatory drugs that can be slipped into a drink.  When a drink is spiked with a drug like Ambien or Roofies, most people will show symptoms like wooziness, confusion, slurred speech, difficulty standing.
13.   Do not leave a party with someone you just met, male or female. 
General spring break tips:
14.   Establish regular phone check in times and stick to them.  Make sure each parent has a detailed itinerary of the travel plans and make multiple copies.
15.   Know what to do in the event of an emergency particularly if you are out of the country.  A website called students abroad provides a list of the numbers along with detailed tips for health emergencies, evacuations and natural disasters.
16.   If you’re out of town, monitor the State department advisories on violence, update your vaccinations, check on health insurance, consider taking out traveler’s insurance, be safety conscience in foreign countries and make sure you obey the laws.
17.   Upgrade your personal security.  Street safe is a new mobile personal security systems that uses your smart phones GPS technology to instantly connect to help before a situation turns into an emergency.  Street safes walk with me service offers a live connection to a professional safety advisor to keep you safe when walking in unfamiliar or threatening surroundings and instant access to 911 if needed.
Take advantage of these safety tips, it may make the difference between a safe and happy spring break and one that has tragedy.   
(Information provided by Jane Marks & Associates)