December is bursting with festivities, and with those festivities are often alcoholic beverages. It’s fine for you to have a few drinks, of course, and drinking moderately can help set a good example for your children of appropriate and responsible alcohol usage. Of course, every year we hear of injuries and fatalities caused by drinking while impaired. Children and families have been killed by drunk drivers, which is the ultimate tragedy, particularly during the holiday season.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, has started a campaign called Tie One On For Safety. What this means is that supporters can display a red ribbon on their cars as a pledge to drive safely, responsibly, buckled up, and not under the influence of anything. If you can’t find a MADD affiliate distributing red ribbons locally, you can just put any red ribbon decal on your car, or tie a red ribbon to your side mirror or antenna.
Here are a few other ways that you can help keep everyone safe during the holiday season:
- If you host a party, don’t let anyone drive home impaired. Stay sober and offer to drive people home yourself if necessary, or spring for a cab. Even if a friend gets angry with you or accuses you of overreacting, it’s better than knowingly letting someone drive while under the influence of alcohol. You can also always offer someone the use of your spare room or your sofa, or have your kids bunk up together for the night to make room for guests who don’t have a safe ride home.
- Serve “mocktails” and have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available for designated drivers and others who don’t want to drink. Also, provide plenty of non-salty snacks so guests won’t be drinking on an empty stomach (avoid salty foods, as they will make your guests thirstier!). And don’t be afraid to shut down the bar a couple of hours before the party is to end; this way, people who have had a couple of drinks will be able to clear most of the alcohol from their systems before leaving.
- Offer to be the designated driver when attending an office party. Let’s face it: drinking in the presence of your boss might lower your inhibitions and you might say something you regret, so you may be better off abstaining that night anyway!
- Talk to your teens about getting into a vehicle with anyone who has been drinking. Teens might feel comfortable refusing to ride with a fellow teen who has had a few beers, but might not feel okay about calling you for a ride when a friend’s mom or dad has been the one imbibing. Let your teen know that you are available to pick him up, no questions asked, and no matter who was supposed to be driving.
- While out and about, always make sure that you and your children are appropriately restrained. Seatbelts, booster seats and carseats save lives. If you aren’t sure that your child is in the right type of seat or that it’s installed correctly (and 4 out of 5 aren’t!), then stop by your local fire department or police station so a trained professional can check for you.
- If you see someone swerving around or driving erratically, pull over and call 911. Don’t try to make the phone call while attempting to drive defensively in the vicinity of a possibly impaired driver; it’s not worth the risk!
We at Shopaholic Mommy wish you a safe holiday season!