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How can I keep my kids safe at the homecoming dance?

Every fall, high school-age teens all over Southern California prepare to attend pep rallies, homecoming football games and dances. The excitement can be palpable, and you don't want to deny your child this experience.

Still, you realize that the major killer of teenagers here in the United States is auto accidents. You certainly don't want your son or daughter to become a statistic. The following tips may help keep them safer.

Network with other parents

Whether your child will be accompanied by a date or a group of their friends, check in with the other parents to verify plans and details. You may want to pool your money and hire a limo and chauffeur to ensure that the one behind the wheel is an experienced driver.

Zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol

Make sure that your teen understands that underage drinking or drug use of any kind will not be tolerated. Stress that any breaches are unacceptable. But leave the door open for safety by promising your teen that they can call you at any point during the night for a ride if they encounter drug or alcohol use among their peers. Some parents arrange a code word with their teens, so the kids can call for assistance without appearing to be uncool.

Agree on a curfew

Your teen probably already has a curfew, but you may want to extend it a bit later for this special occasion, especially if the kids plan to go out to eat after the dance.

Send them off with a charged cellphone and charger

Ask your teens to check in periodically during the evening, and make sure that they have the equipment to do so.

Despite all your precautions, accidents can and do happen. If your teen is injured in a car accident this homecoming, you will need to file a claim for damages to recoup any financial expenses and other losses.

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