Keeping Children Safe: Drinking, Driving, & Other Resource for Families
In order to keep kids safe, it is important to begin teaching them good safety habits from an early age. Kids should understand the basics of crime prevention and what to do if they are in any kind of dangerous situation. While this often means going to tell an adult about problems right away, a child's skills and ability to cope with potentially harmful situations should evolve as he or she grows. One thing that no child is prepared for, however, is the potential impact of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse was once thought of as a "character defect" or moral fault. However, the medical profession has come a long way and now understands that alcohol addiction is a complex issue with chemical and neurological factors. Overcoming alcohol abuse is a life-long challenge for those who have suffered from it. However, to keep children safe, it is imperative to never drink and drive around them. Otherwise, they might take that risk themselves as adults.
It's also important to understand that a driver does not need to be an "alcoholic" in order to drive under the influence. All across the United States, a blood alcohol level that is .08 or higher is considered legally intoxicated. Weight, gender, and other factors influence how many drinks one can have before becoming legally drunk. Of course both motor skills and judgment are impaired long before that point! Use a designated driver whenever possible if you plan to do any drinking, even a small amount.
It's also important to demonstrate to children that distracted driving is not acceptable. "Texting while driving" is a form of distracted driving that is very prevalent among young people. This is not the only risk, however. Listening to loud music, carrying on a conversation, or doing any task that requires moving the hands off the steering wheel can all be "distracted driving." To help kids, only use your phone for "hands-free" GPS while driving, and never for any other purpose.
If you have a younger child, using a car seat is vital. In the event of an accident, a car seat can protect a child in ways that an adult-sized safety belt cannot. Young children, like smaller adults, can even be injured by airbags: Only car seats provide the support they need to remain safe. Car seats come in a variety of sizes based on the size and age of the child, so it's crucial to match the right seat to the child and install it correctly. The federal government recommends using car seats up until the age of thirteen.
Safe habits when it comes to kids and alcohol begin before the child is even born. A large amount of research has substantiated the fact that during pregnancy, not even one drop of alcohol is safe. When a mother drinks, alcohol significantly impairs the fetus's development. This leads to permanent health effects that can be expressed in the form of learning disabilities and more. Exposure to alcohol has also been correlated with premature birth, which is frequently fatal. Remember: Not one drop!
Last, but not least, it is always a good idea to have a family lawyer on hand to ensure the safety and integrity of your family. Even the most even-handed and law-abiding person can find that he or she is unexpectedly thrown into an unwanted legal situation. If this happens to you, call on your lawyer right away: You are not required to speak to the authorities without a lawyer's help. A lawyer should be present even for a "friendly interview" and should handle communication with the authorities and others involved in the situation.
To discover more about drinking, driving, and related topics for families, consult the resources below:
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