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Spring Break safety tips for teenagers, adults

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GregCapersSheriffSoon, 1.5 million high school and college students across the country will be heading to the sunny beaches of Texas, Florida, California, Mexico or the Bahamas for Spring Break.

I have a daughter who is currently a school principal here in San Jacinto County. A daughter, like her dad, who also has a concern for the safety and security of her students has asked me as your Sheriff to highlight some Spring Break safety tips that she has passed along to me.

Regardless of where they’re headed, Spring Break is often considered a rite of passage for students to ditch the stress of school, and pack in a week filled with fun, socializing and well-earned relaxation and enjoyment.

However, with the promise of endless fun and lasting memories with their friends lies more than a few hidden dangers your child may not be aware of.

Some safety tips for high school and college kids

•Plan ahead: Before heading out read up on the destination you’ll be traveling to. Choose a safe hotel in a good area and if you’re flying to your destination, research the safest options to get to your hotel from the airport. Ask your hotel if the taxi services are reputable. You can also check with the hotel to see if they have an airport shuttle service to their hotel.

•Things you should not take: As excited as you are to pack your bag to bring with you everything you might possibly need or want during your vacation, just remember, if you’re worried about losing it, leave it at home.

•On the road: If you’re driving to your destination, plan ahead and travel during the day, if possible. Statistically more accidents occur in the evening hours. Also, make sure designated drivers have a valid driver’s license and that you have a copy of your car registration, and insurance information in your glove compartment.

•When at your destination hotel: It’s understandable that when you’re on vacation the last thing you want to think about is hotel security. But returning from a fun day at the beach only to find your hotel room ransacked is a surefire way to put a damper on an otherwise amazing vacation. When you book your room, choose a reputable hotel or motel with a good security record, and avoid the first floor, if possible, since most break-ins occur on the ground level. Never open the door to someone you don’t know. When you leave your room during the day, ensure the door is closed on your way out. When going to bed at night, always make sure the door and windows are locked.

•Social responsibility: According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, and Alcoholism, during Spring Break 44 percent of college girls, and 75 percent of college guys get drunk daily, and many will drink to the point of passing out at least once on their vacation. The bottom line is, don’t end up a statistic. Don’t binge drink. Always eat before you drink, keep an eye on your drink, and never leave your drink unattended. And as cool as it sounds to drink while in a hot tub, the heat of the water dilates blood vessels, and lowers blood pressure making the effect of alcohol far more intense. Remember also that sexual assault statistically increases over Spring Break, and many victims report that they were under the influence of alcohol at the time they were assaulted.

•BFFs: It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and hype of Spring Break and to lose track of where your friends are. Regardless of whether you’re heading down for breakfast at the hotel restaurant or heading to the beach try to stick with the group. As tempting as it may seem to wander off with someone you just befriended it simply isn’t a risk worth taking. Keep tabs on each other to make sure everyone is safe and always tell someone where you’re going even if you’re heading to the beach bathroom. Also, never allow your friends to do anything irrational, unsafe, or that they might later regret.

•Stay together: It’s easy to feel safe when you’re on vacation, surrounded by seemingly friendly people who are simply there to have a good time like you are. However, the reality is that teens and young adults on Spring Break are often targets of petty crimes like robbery and theft. Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable situation by venturing off alone for any reason.

•Enjoy the calming effects of the ocean: The calming and inviting sounds of the ocean are enough to lure any tipsy teen in for a quick dip. Beware though, alcohol and water are a dangerous combination. According to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol is involved in up to 70 percent of water related death among both adults and teens.

•Beware of the dangers of the sun: Far too many Spring Break vacations have been ruined because of the sun. Harsh burns, dehydration, and heat exhaustion are all too common among Spring Breakers. Don’t forget your sunscreen. Add in the fact that the heat of the sun intensifies the effects of alcohol, and you can see why so many high school and college kids end up in the emergency room.

•Spring break scams: No matter how careful Spring Breakers are, some fall victim to clever scams that lead to loss of money or valuables. Even if you fall victim to a simple, relatively harmless scam, it can be a huge headache and turn a Spring Break into a disappointing experience.

Don’t send your child off on Spring Break without passing along these safety tips. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children!

As always, I hope you find this information informative as well as helpful. Should you need additional information on this subject, or any other subject, please feel free to reach out to my office by calling my non-emergency number (936) 653-4367 and ask the dispatcher for assistance.

Additionally, you might consider reaching out to your child’s school administrators for more assistance on this subject.


Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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