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Helping your teen plan a safe prom or graduation party

As parents of high school students gear up for prom and graduation season, it may not be reassuring to learn that about a third of alcohol-related traffic fatalities for teens each year happen from April through June. That's according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data.

Since teens obtain much of the alcohol that causes these crashes at parties, many parents invite their kids to have parties at their home. This helps parents remain in control of the situation. If you're considering this option, the Drug-Free Action Alliance has some tips:

Be involved in the planning, including the guest list

Don't let your child throw an "open party" that's promoted on social media where anyone can find out about it and show up. Even email invitations should be avoided. They're too easy to forward.

Written invitations addressed to specific people are safer. Tell your kids this is the "retro" way to do it. List a specific start and end time on the invitation.

Set rules that your child understands and can pass on to their friends

Make sure everyone at the party knows that no alcohol or drugs are allowed. Further, kids shouldn't be allowed to leave the party and return. That increases the risk that kids will drive under the influence.

Limit the party to one section of your home or another part of your property

This makes it easier to keep an eye on things. If the party is in the backyard around your pool, there's no reason for kids to be gathering in bedrooms, the den or kitchen. Make sure the food, beverages, games and music are in the area designated for the party.

Be considerate of your neighbors

Let your neighbors know that your teen is having a party and that you will be chaperoning it. This will help minimize the chance that they'll call the police. Encourage them to notify you if they have a problem. However, if the party's outside, watch the noise level.

Of course, your child will likely be attending other parties this spring as well. Make sure you talk to them about the dangers of drinking and driving and the fact that they can get a DUI with just a .02 percent blood alcohol content (BAC). If your child is arrested for DUI, ensure that they have an experienced attorney to protect their rights.