Stay safe on spring break

Published 5:13 pm Monday, March 22, 2004

By Staff
Our View
It's that time of year again, a time when our children get their first hint of the freedom that awaits them this summer. According to the Weather Channel's forecast the weather couldn't be more perfect: a cool breeze and the sun beaming down on us.
Spring Break has begun.
Spring Break is a time of fun, but there is also another side that isn't popular to think of, but we should. Spring Break can be dangerous and unfortunately, sometimes fatal, especially for our teens.
Parents, we urge you to take a moment and address some of these dangers below, before the unthinkable happens. What might be thought of as fun can tear a family apart in only a fraction of a second.
Not only for those traveling to the beach, but spending any amount of time out in the sun can be dangerous. According to the American Cancer Society more than one million cases of skin cancers occur annually. An estimated 10,250 deaths will occur from different types of this disease, this year. Severe childhood sunburns may greatly increase the risk of melanoma in later life. The American Cancer Society suggests some of the following as measures to protect you from the sun.
Limit exposure to the sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
Wear a hat, sunglasses, and if possible a long sleeve shirt and pants
Always use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
Another danger that needs to be addressed is the consumption of alcohol. No matter whether day or night, alcohol can potentially make any situation dangerous. The atmosphere of Spring Break often promotes a party atmosphere for our older children and young adults. Heavy intoxication during this time, also referred to as binge drinking, can lead to very deadly effects. Not only vomiting, impaired judgment, and loss of consciousness, but alcohol poising can occur.
The best and safest course of action is to not drink. Parents, urge your children to avoid alcohol and events where they believe alcohol will be served.
If alcohol is planned to be consumed please follow some of the below precautions, taken from both medical and academic sources.
If underage, Don't Drink
If of age don't drink too much
Decide in advance how much you plan to drink, and plan on how to refuse once you reach your limit.
Do Not Drive, have access to a designated driver or use public transportation such as a taxi service.
One other thing that we urge parents to discuss with their teen daughters is the prevalence of date rape drugs. These drugs have found a home in the club scene. One reason is the ability to easily drug a person by slipping these substances into a drink. If taken, these drugs can cause drowsiness, impaired judgment, nausea, confusion, dizziness, impairement or loss of memory and lack of muscle coordination. Young ladies, please be careful. A couple of ways you can protect yourself are to never leave a drink unattended and only accept a drink from a bartender or server.
Source for alcohol and date rape drugs.
Parents, these are only a few dangers that are present this spring break. Make sure that you take time with your child and help ensure that they not only have a wonderful time, but also a safe time.

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