It's prom season. That means the frenzy of booking transportation, selecting the right attire and making last-minute plans is upon us.
With all this excitement, it's important for students and parents to keep safety in mind so the prom becomes a cherished memory - not a tragic one.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 10 tips for a healthy and safe prom on its website at www.cdc.gov.
First, the CDC notes that anyone trying to lose weight before the prom should keep nutrition and health in mind. Crash dieting could be detrimental. Also, beware of the risks of UV rays and be smart while working on a tan glow.
Beware of allergic reactions when it comes to cosmetics and hair dye - make sure they're all tested before the big night.
The CDC also recommends wearing or bringing along comfortable footwear to avoid injury and set a budget and avoid overspending that can cause stress before and after the event. Recent studies have said the average family spends more than $1,100 to send one student to the prom - so if that's not affordable, don't conform with it.
We want to encourage parents to help out at after-prom events. Many of these large-scale parties are hosted at the school, and they're a safe way to keep the fun going after the prom. We encourage everyone to attend these over private house parties. We also like the fact that local businesses get involved in supporting the school parties.
The CDC says sex, alcohol or other drugs aren't necessary to make the prom memorable, and students should be wary of getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking or taking drugs. Also, always wear a seat belt. Drunken driving isn't the only danger in the car - don't text and drive under any circumstances. Distracted driving can be as deadly as drunken driving.
Parents and guardians should make sure they are available throughout the night in case a student has an emergency or plans change. Teens, don't be afraid to call if you need help.
Hopefully, teen dating violence won't be a factor at the prom, but we feel it's necessary to remind parents they should be aware of warning signs when their teens are dating.
The CDC also provides information on its website about teen dating violence, which it says is underreported. Teens who think they're being abused emotionally or physically in a relationship shouldn't be afraid to talk to a family member or call 911.