SATURDAY, March 26, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- As many college students head south for spring break, there are some things moms and dads can do to ease their worries, an expert says.
Levester Johnson, vice president of student affairs at Butler University in Indianapolis, said parents need to make sure their child:
- Travels with a group, because there is safety in numbers.
- Has an itinerary that provides information about where they will be staying.
- Is prepared for the unexpected, by carrying their health insurance card and a credit card that can be used if they have to deal with a financial emergency.
"It's OK for parents and family members to ask what their [child's] plan is," Johnson said in a university news release. "Parental concern is a natural instinct that should not be discounted or discouraged or pushed aside. Those are the kinds of things that are going to help assist your student in being safe. They still have maturation to go through, and that's what parent involvement is all about -- helping them through."
It's a good idea for parents to consider the maturity and responsibility their child has shown at college and to negotiate some ground rules, such as who's paying for the trip.
"Tell them: Bring me your plan. Convince me, and show me you're responsible enough to handle this now," Johnson said. "If they can, parents might want to give them the opportunity. If not, ask for more complete plans and suggest that this is more likely to be approved next year."
He noted that there is more to do on spring break than party. Many schools offer alternative supervised trips to do community-service projects.
"Ask your student: Does your school have a program like that, and how can they get involved?" Johnson suggested.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers spring break health and safety tips.