It's Friday night, and your tween or teen may ask for a sleepover, but are you ready to be active in their fun?
Sleepovers are a timeless tradition for kids.
The first thing we all know about sleepovers is that they amount in very little sleep!
But they are typically a fun outlet for kids to bond with their peers and form lasting friendships.
But not all sleepovers are the same. Sleepovers can result in danger if kids are left unattended too long without mom or dad checking in on them.
This past weekend, a New York high schooler died at a sleepover. Authorities say that 18-year-old Michael Kastle died of an apparent drug overdose. Two friends had taken him to the hospital, after they were unable to wake him.
Authorities with the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. say that Kastle was with those friends at one of the boys' homes. They reportedly told authorities that Kastle took several pills of the prescription drug Xanax and exhibited signs that he might have taken an excessive dose.
Toxicology reports will determine how the boy died. Authorities have not said one way or another if parents were home during this time of drug use.
I know most of us might be thinking, well this is what happens when we leave our teens home alone overnight. But these deadly outcomes do not occur solely when the parents are away.
Two years ago, a Medford, Oregon boy died after attending a sleepover. The parents were downstairs watching TV. You have to imagine that the parents thought they were secure knowing that their kids weren't out partying somewhere. The kids had been playing video game.
That next morning the guest teen did not wake up. Turns out, the kids had been taking pills and were high the whole time in the house. So what seemed like an innocent sleepover was anything but.
The parents may have assumed the kids were safe because they were at home. Most of us would not believe that our kids would use at home while we are there. But it happens frequently.
Sleepovers don't have to end. But parents should make sure that they spend quality time with the kids. They could have a family dinner with the guest, and the parent should check on the kids, asking them several questions just to make sure the kids seem OK.
I know that I will take measures with my kids when they are a few years older and attending sleepovers. As a former teen user and lifelong recovering addict, I know that I took advantage of those sleepovers. But as parents, my wife and I will make sure my kids don't take advantage of us. We all need to remember, presence is not supervision.