Tips for keeping your kids safe during the holidays

The holiday season is here, which means there will be many gatherings and celebrations. Sometimes these holiday parties involve alcohol and your family could be exposed to substance abuse. This year, take the time to talk to your family about the risks of using drugs and alcohol. You can even create substance-free holiday traditions. Here are some helpful tips from the experts at Fairbanks.

• At your holiday gatherings, offer plenty of nonalcoholic drinks such as cider, eggnog or punch.

• Be sure to throw out partly empty alcoholic drinks. Children love to imitate adults, and if they have access to leftover drinks, they may taste the contents.

• Do not allow teens to drink at home with you, as this provides a mixed message and is illegal.

• For your holiday meal, prepare and serve traditional drinks without alcohol.

• Store all medications safely and dispose of outdated and unused medications that could be harmful to curious kids visiting your home for the holidays.

• If your older child is going to a holiday event, check in with the party planners to see what measures are in place to keep out alcohol.

• Give your teen a plan; help them come up with responses if they are offered drugs or alcohol and help them feel comfortable to call you for help if they feel in danger.

• When young guests arrive with 2-liter soft drinks or other containers, accept them at the door to be sure seals are intact.

• Model responsible behavior, and know that you are a major influence on your child.

If you have trouble controlling your alcohol consumption or know someone who does, make an appointment at Fairbanks for an assessment. You can talk to a counselor confidentially to determine how alcohol or drugs may be affecting your life or the life of a loved one. Call Fairbanks at 317.849.8222 or visit www.fairbankscd.org.