It’s prom season again! The hysterics of the young women, the boastful confidence of the high school boys, the crushing memory of Kerry Horoho saying NO to the “Yes, No, Maybe?” note I sent her after drama class. But whether it’s a night to forget or the event of a lifetime, prom opens up our country’s youth for some pretty big health and safety risks.
There are the usual suspects that need to be discussed. Drinking and driving is a much higher risk on the big night, and even sober drivers age 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to get into an accident. Make sure that you talk to your kids about staying sober while also mentioning the importance keeping distractions at a minimum.
Teen dating violence is also a very real issue, which can be made worse by stress-filled evenings and opportunities for alcohol consumption. It doesn’t matter whether it’s verbal, physical, or sexual; it’s important that young women and men learn to respect themselves (and each other) and make sure NOT to enter any situation that could put them in danger. Giving a quick phone call to the parent or guardian of the after-party du jour could help protect your child and put your mind at ease.
Stress can also be a monumental part of the entire process, and as we all know, stress is a major factor in overall wellness. From getting the right hairstyle to finding the perfect date, it’s a tough time to be a teenager. Add in disappointment or rejection – thanks, Kerry – and the financial pressure to overspend, and you’ve got a potent cocktail for an unhealthy situation. Remind your teens that you don’t need to have a date to have fun, and start planning early so you can have all of the issues worked out before they become problems. If cost is an issue, look for alternatives, group deals, and consignment stores that may have amazing low-cost options.
Also, for the ladies, test cosmetics and hair products before you use them. Many people have allergies to certain ingredients; if you just bought that expensive new eye shadow, you better be sure it won’t make you break out in hives. You should also follow the instructions on anything that could be harmful to your body. And skip out on the hair dye for your eyelashes, as it can cause blindness. Yes, blindness. It’s hard to enjoy the way you look when you can’t even see the mirror.
Lastly, make sure you look and feel the way you want to, but do it in a healthy way. Rather than embarking on a crash diet with six days to go that will leave you open to all sorts of complications (dizziness, fainting, fatigue, etc.), eat a healthy diet and exercise in the weeks leading up to the big day. And never ever hit the tanning booth to get that glow that you think is soooooo necessary. It might seem like a beauty quick-fix, but tanning is conclusively linked to wrinkles, allergy, permanent coloration, and skin cancer. You’re better off getting a few vitamin D-rich rays under the protection of sun block and using a slightly tinted and chemical free moisturizer.
So there you have it: some easy ways to make sure you not only have a happy prom, but a safe prom as well. If you need me for any more tips, I’ll be looking through Facebook pictures of what might have been for Kerry and me.
Ah, the magic of the prom.
"Prom Family Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/family/prom/>.
“Tanning Beds & Skin Problems." LIVESTRONG.COM. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/38324-tanning-beds-skin-problems/>.
*Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Author: Nikita Gill