Keeping Teens Safe on New Year’s Eve

Do you know what your teenager’s plans are for celebrating New Year’s Eve? Will he be going out with friends or attending a party? Will she be driving or riding with other teenagers? Have you made a plan for keeping your teenager safe during and after the festivities?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day two-day holiday is the most deadly and dangerous time to be on the road, with a startling increase in drunk driving deaths over any other time of year. And even though teenagers are under the legal drinking age, unfortunately there will be many of them drinking as part of their celebrations. For these reasons, it is vitally important to know your teenager’s plans and to make a plan for his or her safety.

Talk with your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving and make it clear that underage drinking is not only dangerous, it is illegal. If he is not driving and ends up in a situation where others are drinking, tell your child to call you and you will pick him, no questions asked. If your child is the driver, talk about the importance of staying focused on the road, avoiding distractions such as texting or talking on the phone and defensive driving since other drivers may be impaired.

Find out who your teen will be with and where they will be spending the evening. If possible, they should stay in one location for the majority of the evening and not travel throughout the night. Establish check in times for your teenager to call or text you and set a curfew for when she must home. If she’s spending the night at a friend’s house, call and verify with the friend’s parents.

If you are concerned about letting your teenager go out for the evening, consider hosting a party for him and his friends at your home. Keep in mind that you will need to check to make sure no one brings in alcohol or is/has been/will be drinking or you could be held liable if they have an accident after leaving your home. If you suspect a teen has been drinking, take their car keys and call their parents to come get them.

If you don’t want to host a party, there are other safe alternatives in many communities that can provide fun ways for teens to ring in the New Year. Check local businesses such as skating rinks, amusement parks, laser tag centers, movie theaters and other teen-oriented places to see if they are offering a “lock-in” party or event that teens can attend. Some churches host New Year’s Eve celebration parties for teens and/or families too.

Of course, staying home and celebrating together as a family is also an alternative. If your teenager is open to the idea and you do not have other plans, consider staying off the road and just having a fun family night with movies, board games, video games, or other activities. My family has a tradition of celebrating at home and inviting friends over so we all stay safe and have fun together.

Wishing you all a very Happy (& Safe) New Year!

About the Author

Tamara Walker, R.N., aka “MomRN”, is the mom of two teenagers, a registered nurse, a child safety expert and instructor, and host of the “Ask MomRN Show”. Her passions are to help parents as they navigate the journey through parenthood and to protect children of all ages. Her websites are and MomRN has been a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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