How do you keep your teen safe on prom night?

While prom night is one of the most exciting nights of the year for high school seniors, it's one of the most worrisome nights of the year for parents. Prom night occurs during the final term of high school and it is a chance for students to flex the muscles of their newly achieved freedom. They celebrate by letting loose, drinking, dancing and enjoying each other's company. Parents are understandably worried that the drinking might get out of control and that their teen might take sexual risks. However, even if your teen acts decently, she still might be in danger if she takes a ride home with another student who is under the influence of alcohol.

Many car accidents happen on the way home from the prom when the driver has drunk too much alcohol or is distracted by noisy, rowdy kids. To avoid road accidents, chip in for a chauffeured limousine to drive your teen to and from the prom, or, if it's too expensive, offer to drive your child yourself. Equip your teen with extra cash so that she can take a cab home if she sees the designated driver is woozy. Some schools cut down on safety problems by locking their students inside after the prom, forbidding them to leave until the morning.

It's helpful to know your teen's agenda on the night of the prom and to stay in contact with her periodically during the night by cell phone. It will put your mind at ease to know she is all right; on the other hand, if you cannot reach your child or she isn't where she planned to be, you will immediately know something is amiss. Talk with your teen before the prom about the risks of excessive drinking and permissive sex. Lay out the rules in advance and be prepared to enforce them if necessary. Finally, meet her date and friends beforehand to make sure you are comfortable with the people she hangs out with.