This is the time of year we often get together with family and friends to celebrate. Whether it is a Seahawks watch party, a holiday get-together, or a Bow Game marathon, we enjoy sharing these times with others. Because many of these parties often involve alcoholic beverages, please take some time to read through these simple tips to keep everyone safe.
If you are hosting a party:
- De-emphasize alcohol. Guests don’t necessarily need to drink in order to relax and have fun.
- Make sure there is plenty of food available, especially high protein and low salt foods. High protein foods slow down intoxication because they stay in the stomach longer. Salt increases thirst and could lead to more drinking.
- Measure and control drinks. Don’t have an open bar, and don’t push drinks on your guests. Always measure the alcohol rather than free pouring to limit the amount in drinks. Do not serve anyone who seems to be impaired.
- Have non-alcoholic beverages available. Serve an attractive variety of juices and soda, or mix up some non-alcoholic specialty drinks.
- Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party ends. Instead, bring out the coffee and dessert. And remember, the only thing that sobers someone up is time.
- Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age of 21, and don’t allow someone under 21 to serve alcohol to your guests.
- Never allow someone to drive impaired. Make sure your guests have a way to get home safely or have them stay overnight, if needed.
If you are partying away from home:
- If you drink, don’t drive. Make arrangement in advance to have a designated driver, spend the night in a hotel, or stay at your host’s home.
- If you are the designated driver, don’t drink, even “just one.”
- Alternate between alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks.
- Know how to count your drinks. One standard drink is roughly equivalent to 12 oz. of regular beer, 8-9 oz. of malt liquor, 5 oz. of table wine, and 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits.
- Call 911 if you’re on the road and see someone driving erratically. Slow down and/or move off the road.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Never text and drive. Put your phone away where you cannot be distracted by it.
Tips for parents
Alcohol is responsible for more than 4,700 deaths of underage youth each year due to car crashes, drowning, suicides and homicides, overdose, and other unintentional injuries. It is important for parents to know that you are still the strongest influence on whether your child chooses to drink. Here are some tips to keep your teen safe this holiday season.
- Talk to your teen. Teens who drink risk serious injuries and death, as well as harm to their long-term development and well-being. For information about how to talk with your teens, go to www.StartTalkingNow.org.
- Don’t relax your rules just because it is the holiday season. Be clear about your expectations, even for your underage college student who is home for the holidays.
- Check to ensure alcohol will not be served at parties your teen attends. Call the parents of the teen who is hosting the party. And let your teen know he or she can always call you if something unexpected happens.
- Be a good role model. If you are serving alcohol to adults in your home, model appropriate drinking behavior. Also, keep an eye on both the alcohol and the teens at the party.
- Understand that unsupervised teens are at risk for alcohol use. If you leave your teens home alone, lock alcohol up and set expectations about having friends over. Also lock up your medicines, as prescription drug abuse has been a growing problem among teens.
We can all play a part in making this holiday season safe for everyone.
Enjoy your holidays, and be safe!!
Sources include the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.