The mayhem caused by unplanned teen parties is alarming. With no experience of planning a successful teen event, parents are continually putting kids in harm’s way.
Every weekend, I see first-hand exactly why parties are causing tragedy across our nation.
I often wonder how many injuries in the home result from mismanaged parties. Though this was a mature-aged event, it highlights the risks of homes unsuitable for celebrations.
Sadly, this sort of tragedy is far from rare.
Today’s teen parties are more likely to be held in homes. This is because most public venues no longer support them.
To make things worse, there are many more teen events.
20 years ago, people celebrated turning 21. These days, every birthday from 13 on is seen as ‘significant’.
I believe this spike in birthday celebrations is due to American television now available online or via cable in most homes. Our kids are watching teen movies and music videos that promote the coolness of ‘Sweet 16’ and other birthdays.
So, with more events in more homes, we have problems.
While most private dwellings have limited public liability cover in case something goes wrong, it’s far wiser to prevent problems (and subsequent claims) before they occur.
To this end, I inspect every party venue in advance. The many issues I find and flag include:
- Swimming pools.
- Rickety balconies designed and made for domestic use only.
- Extremely steep stair wells.
- Homes in the middle of renovations.
- Homes on busy roads.
Combine these risk elements with underage drinking and explosive social networking and you literally have a recipe for disaster.
I believe that if we had legislation to protect kids at parties, it would:
- Increase community security.
- Ensure our young people return home safely.
- Minimise injury claims stemming from teen party mayhem.
- Reduce the financial impact on our community (e.g. wasted emergency service call-outs and pressure on our already-stretched health system).
You may think this is all someone else’s problem.
Will you wait until your child fails to come home?
And two grim-faced police officers wake you at 3 am
with a heart-stopping knock at your door?
Naomi Oakley, Founder, Safe Partying Australia.