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By Elana Goodwin, Uloop
It’s important before your student gets too into the semester and really starts going out and attending parties to have a serious talk with them about safety. Even if your student is underage, the reality is that they will likely end up at college parties that have alcohol and may end up imbibing.
Rather than just telling them not to drink or go to those parties, you should take the logical approach and talk candidly with them about how they can stay safe at college parties so they can at least be smart about their potential alcohol consumption. Here are some party safety tips to cover with your student.
There’s safety in numbers and you should advise your student to never go out to a party by themselves; instead, they should preferably go out with a small group of trustworthy people. This way, there are more people who can help keep track of each other and how much everyone is drinking. Before going out, your student should come up with a plan with their group of friends.
Within the group, drinking buddies should be chosen so each person is directly responsible for one other person and everyone is responsible to the group as a whole as well. Your student and their buddy should each figure out a drink limit to stick to and consult with the group about where and when everyone will meet if they somehow get separated as well as what time they want to head home and how they’re planning to get there.
If your child is going with a group of friends to a party and one of them is driving, stress the importance of having a designated driver who will not drink throughout the night and who can also serve as sort of a watcher for the other people in the group who will be drinking. To ensure that the designated driver doesn’t drink, set up a plan to alternate who serves as the DD so it’s fair and everyone takes a turn being the sober and responsible one.
At parties, it’s imperative your student watch their drink and never leave it unattended. If they do set it down to go to the bathroom, dance, or do something else, they should get a new drink. If they are with a group of trusted friends, they can ask one of them to hold it and watch it while they step away — but urge your student that it’s better to be safe than sorry so if they don’t think their friend watched it well, they shouldn’t drink it.
You obviously don’t want to think about anything bad happening to your child or them having anything slipped into their drink but it does happen and Rohypnol is odorless and tasteless and easily and quickly can dissolve in a drink without your student knowing or seeing. Remind them that they should also not accept opened drinks or cups from people at the party when they don’t know them or aren’t sure what exactly is in the drink being handed to them.
If your student knows they are going to be headed out to a party later, they need to be sure they eat well throughout the day. Drinking on an empty stomach is not a good idea as the alcohol will hit your child’s system faster and harder with nothing there to help soak it up. Additionally, they should stay hydrated by drinking water as alcohol increases a person’s need to pee and can cause your student to suffer from a big hangover the next day. To make sure everyone in your student’s group of friends
To make sure everyone in your student’s group of friends eats before they head out to party, suggest to your child that they all go to the campus dining hall together for dinner or that they all meet up to grab a bite together.
Your student’s phone should be fully charged and kept on their person and they should not take more than just the essentials (like $20 for emergencies, their key, and possibly mace) with them to the party. This way, they have a way of getting out of an uncomfortable or bad situation and they can contact others in the group, call a ride, or phone for help if need be. Further, your student should trust their instincts; if they feel unsafe or like something doesn’t feel right, they should remove themselves from that situation.
Additionally, your student should pace themselves when it comes to drinking. There is no need for them to down drink after drink and not tracking their drinking can be dangerous; instead, they should alternate alcohol with water to stay hydrated and drink their alcoholic beverage more slowly.
It’s naïve as a parent to assume your child won’t drink in college at parties, even if they are not yet 21. So prepare your student as best you can by covering these safety tips with them and letting them know you’re always available for them to talk to about anything — and set up a plan so they’ll keep you informed if they are going out partying and can let you know they made it home safely.
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