Blue Suit Mom

Is Your Kid Headed for Spring Break? Relax, and Read These Safety Tips

Group of young people enjoy summer  party at the beach“Mom, Dad, I’m going away with my friends for spring break.” If you’re like most parents, you probably feel a mix of emotions when you hear those words—a twinge of sadness that your college student won’t be coming home, joy in the fact that he or she is becoming independent, and lastly, fear. They are all justified.

Spring breakers have been getting arrested in record numbers for a variety of crimes—mostly drinking-related—at various popular spots around the country. Eighty-seven spring breakers were arrested at Lake Havasu in 2013, according to The Havasu News. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office in Florida reported issuing approximately 600 court notices for underage drinking during the 2013 spring break period. Add to these examples the fact that it’s not uncommon for young partyers to try illegal drugs while on spring break, and any half-normal parent would be worried.

Not much of this situation is in your power; you just have to hope you raised them right and let them fly. But you can do a few things to encourage a safe, fun and safe (did we mention “safe”?) trip.

Talk to Them

Surrounded by thousands of teens and young adults who are binge drinking and otherwise partying to excess, your child may do things he or she would not normally do. Even if you’ve already talked to your children about drinking and drugs, do it again. Reiterate the following:

  • Always keep an eye on your drink. While women are more often the victim of date rape drugs such as Rohypnol—also known as “roofies”—men have also been drugged and robbed or even raped.
  • Use the buddy system at all times.
  • Don’t hook up on spring break. It just brings up a host of potentially dangerous situations. But if you must, use protection.

Do What You Can

If you’re a helicopter parent, you may want to follow your children to their spring break destinations. Please don’t. Do these things instead:

  • If they’re driving, make sure they’ve performed routine maintenance on their vehicles before they leave. Check the oil and other fluids, as well as the windshield wipers. Worn tires are especially deadly, so if the tread grooves are shallow, consider replacing them before they hit the road. TireBuyer sells BF Goodrich tires that start at $77 each.
  • Load them up with free apps. Two to try: Waze, a traffic app that alerts them to hazards and traffic jams, and TripSplitter, for help managing and tracking expenses during the trip.

Offer Alternatives

When offered an alternative, some college students will choose not to go on a traditional alcohol-soaked spring break. You may, for example, offer to take a family trip during the same period of time or suggest your student look into a service mission spring break. The latter have become increasingly popular with college students. For example, in 2013, students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., traveled to seven different cities and Haiti to volunteer and serve others in need.

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