How to Make Prom Night Safe and Injury Free

Prom3-FBYou can be sure that when spring arrives, prom season isn’t far behind. Sparkly gowns, both daring and demure, will be flying off racks as nervous prom date hopefuls try to outdo each other with ever more spectacular promposals. As a parent, you may be concerned about more serious prom night clichés, such as underage drinking, distracted driving and other typical prom-related rituals that can turn the magic night into an episode of ER.

As always, we’ve got you covered with expert advice to help you navigate the teen-infested waters of prom season.

The look.

For many teens, the quest to look their best on prom night begins months before the event. Crash and fad diets, over-exercising, excessive tanning and the crimping, curling and dying of hair and lashes can have lasting medical as well as immediate social consequences.

Here are 6 get-ready-for-prom tips from the CDC:

  • Get in shape slowly and wisely: Eat lots of fruits, veggies whole grains and lean protein, cut back on junk food and sugary drinks and don’t starve yourself
  • Make exercise part of your normal routine: Try to be active for 60 minutes on most days of the week, but avoid beginning a strenuous workout regimen that could derail your prom plans

Gan Su, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City Arlington, tells you how to know when to go to the ER with back pain.

  • Get plenty of sleep each night:
    • Teens 15-17 need 8-10 hours
    • Teens 18-19 (and adults up to 64 years old) need 7-9 hours
  • Follow directions on beauty products and test them on a small area of your body to be sure you won’t have an allergic reaction

Dr. Su tells you how to spot an allergic reaction worthy of an ER trip.

  • Wear appropriate, comfortable shoes that you can walk and dance in safely
  • Forego the sun and tanning salon: Too much sun can land you in the ER, dehydrated and with an actual burn — and just a few of those episodes can cause skin cancer later in life

The drive.

More U.S. teens die in motor vehicle crashes than from any other type of injury or accident. In fact, teen drivers are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.  However, there are proven strategies to help teens become better drivers.

The CDC suggests you make young drivers aware of these 8 danger zones and offers tips for reducing their risks:

  • Driver inexperience: Provide at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over at least 6 months on a variety of roads, times of day and weather and traffic conditions
  • Driving with teen passengers: Insist that your teens follow the Texas Department of Public Safety Graduated Driver License program, which places restrictions on drivers under the age of 18, including:
    • Who they can drive
    • When they can drive
    • Cell phone/wireless communication device usage

Bypass this prom night concern by having an older sibling, relative or parent drive kids to          and from prom or go in with a group and hire a bus, limo or rideshare service.

  • Nighttime driving: Fatal crashes for drivers of all ages are more likely to happen at night, so insist on a reasonable curfew and practice driving at night when you think teens are ready
  • Seat belts: Buckling up is the simplest way to prevent car crash deaths, yet teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use
  • Distracted driving: It’s known as the new drunk driving and teen drivers 15-19 have the highest percentage of distracted driving fatalities. The worst offender is texting because it requires using your eyes, hands and brain. Could your teens pass our texting and driving pop quiz?

Matt Carrick, MD, Trauma Medical Director of Medical City Plano, talks about the dangers of distracted driving and says the best prevention is to put your phone down while driving.

  • Drowsy driving: Teens should avoid driving during early morning or late night hours when possible
  • Reckless driving: Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and tailgate; the presence of teenage boys increases the likelihood of reckless driving behavior
  • Impaired driving: The number of teens who drink and drive has decreased by 54% since 1991, but even one drink can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time

If your teens aren’t convinced alcohol will impair their motor skills, try alcohol impairment simulation goggles — Google “drunk goggles.” They’re available in several blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, including low, moderate and high.

See what happened when Medical City Lewisville’s Manager of Trauma Services, Jennifer Turner, BSN, RN, enlisted a volunteer to try drunk goggles.

If your teen is involved in an accident, don’t assume they’re ok just because they have no visible injuries. Dr. Su explains how to know if a headache or head injury should send you to the ER for an evaluation.

If prom night takes an unexpected turn, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.

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