Common Health and Safety Risks for Teenagers
It is normal for parents to worry about the safety and health of their teenagers. As children get older and gain independence, it can be hard putting faith in them to make the right decisions for themselves. Parents must be fully aware of the biggest risks their teens will face and be prepared to help. Below are some of the more common health and safety risks for teenagers and ways parents can help.
1. Drug and Alcohol Use
By their senior year in high school, most teenagers will have tried alcohol or drugs. In certain states in the United States, marijuana use is legal, so it is possible for minors to have access to cannabis despite strict regulations. Over two-thirds of teens regularly use tobacco products. The use of drugs and alcohol are associated with risky behavior. If your teen is abusing prescription drugs or alcohol, it is important to get them help before it becomes too late. Parents are urged to speak with their teens and consider entering them into a local treatment center. These facilities are accessible near most major cities; Ohio-based outpatient drug rehab centers are located in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. Addressing the issue of addiction head-on will allow teens to get the help they need in a way that is geared towards their age group.
2. Accidents and Reckless Behavior
Another risk parents of teens need to be concerned about is their driving habits and risky behaviors when behind the wheel. Car accidents are the top cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 in the United States. Before your teenager gets behind the wheel or is a passenger in another teen’s car, educate yourself and them about the risks. Create a safe driving plan to lower the risk of them ending up in an accident.
The third leading cause of death for teenagers is suicide. Factors that contribute to a teen wanting to commit suicide include family problems, depression, loneliness, and substance abuse problems. Parents can lessen this risk by having a good relationship and open communication with their teens. Teenagers who have at least one adult they are comfortable expressing their feelings with are less likely to feel depressed or engage in risky or deadly behavior.
4. Poor Diet and Lack of Sleep
As teenagers become more independent with the choices they make regarding food and sleeping habits, they don’t always make the right choices. Teens are notorious for skipping breakfast, eating unhealthy foods, not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much. To help them make better choices, be sure there are enough healthy options for them to choose from in the pantry and refrigerator. If they are hungry and need to eat at home, they will have no other choice but to choose what’s available.
Roughly 46% of high schoolers are sexually active. Teens account for half of STI cases being diagnosed every year. Parents need to speak with their teens about the risks associated with unprotected sex. Set up regular checkups with your teen’s doctor to get tested and learn the best steps to staying clean and safe.