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Did you know that in 2013 in Texas alone there were 175 under-21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities which is 36.1 of all under-21 fatalities in the state Did you also know that National Prom Graduation Safety Month and Alcohol Awareness Month are both observed in April Its no coincidence April is the beginning of prom and graduation season when celebrations can become dangerous if there is underage drinking involved. Of all alcohol-related fatalities involving teens each year approximately one-third of them take place during the April May and June prom and graduation season. To curtail this activity many schools and communities conduct anti-drinking campaigns during April. Though community and school anti-alcohol programs are useful remember the old saying that education begins at home. Hands down parents are the most influential person or thing in a childs decision not to drink at all or not to drink on occasion. When you have the discussion impress upon your teens that it is important not to succumb to peer pressure to drink that drinking doesnt make them the cool kid and that you are available at all times during prom to come pick them up if things get out of hand. While a discussion about the dangers of alcohol consumption with your teen is crucial parents should also think twice about their own behavior. Dont allow your teen to go to a party if you know alcohol will be served. Research conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and co-sponsored by the insurance company Liberty Mutual found 41 percent of teens say their parents allow them to go to parties where alcohol is being served. The cool rule applies to parents as well. Avoid the urge to want to be the cool parent who provides the alcohol and dont let teens drink at your residence. According to Robert Chaiken an attorney whose law firm Chaiken Chaiken specializes in personal and serious injury claims allowing teens to drink in your home thinking that its a safe way to keep them off the roads can lead you down the road of liability. You may be subject to lawsuits fines and jail time. Parents can be sued even if they were not aware that drinking was going on in their home. An adult who provides alcohol to a minor who is not their child or permits the provision of alcohol to other minors can face serious criminal andor civil consequences from the harm Prom Celebration or Intoxication Attention parents Are you ready for prom Of course there are the traditional preparations for this teenage rite of passage but before you buy the dress or suit pay for the flowers or photos and or hand your teen the keys to the car make sure you have a talk with your son or daughter about alcohol. By Karyn Brodsky continued on page 46 goodTO KNOW