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Spring Break: Safety for Teens

For teens, spring break gets a major renovation around senior year of high school. This transformation takes place primarily because by age 17, most teens have their driver’s license and are ready to hit the road. In preparation for spring break, teens often collaborate and plan overnight trips to nearby destinations. Although it is common for a chaperone to be present on these trips, your teen won’t always be supervised. Talking to your teen about spring break etiquette is the best way to ensure their safety.


Being in constant contact with your teen is imperative to their safety. Make sure your teen knows to remain accessible at all times. Prior to the trip, establish a check-in schedule. It is a good idea to request your teen check-in with you in the morning and before bed. No matter how many scheduled check-ins there are, make sure your teen is accessible at all hours.


Since you won’t be able to directly monitor your teen, it is important you encourage self-monitoring. Encourage your teen to always be aware of their surroundings. If your teen isn’t alert it will be hard to identify when something is off. Also, be sure that your teen isn’t disclosing too much information on social media. Have your teen increase their privacy settings, turn off location services and wait until they are back home to post pictures that could indicate their whereabouts.  Here’s some suggestions to discuss:

Use the buddy system: Staying in a group is the best way to stay safe and avoid being the victim of any foul play.

Be careful with money: Carry small amounts of cash, keep debit cards zipped up, don’t go to the ATM alone, be mindful that your card is returned to you after purchases and zipped up again.

Use caution when swimming: Don’t dive into unknown waters, don’t swim at night, don’t swim when dehydrated or feeling weak, be mindful of warning flags on the beach. Use sunscreen.

Leave expensive jewelry or clothing at home: Prized items can be misplaced, lost, or even stolen.

Practice safe driving: Discuss your expectations. Should they rotate drivers, inspect the car before leaving town, confirm there is a jack, spare tire, insurance cards, ect? Avoid distractions such as too many passengers, cell phone usage, loud music, etc.

Implement a code word: A predetermined catch phrase could be used as a signal to leave a setting if anyone in the group senses trouble, feels uncomfortable or is being harassed.

Get involved

While your teen is on vacation, increase your involvement. Have your teen share their GPS location with you so you can ensure they aren’t anywhere they shouldn’t be. Most smartphones allow GPS locations to be shared without the need to download any third-party applications. Follow and monitor your teen’s social media as well. It is important to let your teen know you are following them to protect them, not to pry.

Your teen going anywhere without a family chaperone can be scary. Discussing safety and spring break etiquette with your teen is an imperative way to prevent mishaps.


Updated February 2024.

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