Each year for three weeks straight, high-school grads from all over Australia celebrate the end of their studies in a graduation festival known as schoolies. While having a good time is often the number one priority of this momentous occasion, the reality is, there'll be very little to celebrate if it doesn't end safely.
So that school leavers can celebrate this special rite of passage and parents can put their minds at ease, we've assembled this Schoolies Safety Guide. Screenshot it, print it, or memorise it inside-out to ensure a stress-free schoolies.
Safety Services & Volunteers
- Police & support services will be available at key destinations, offering medical assistance and advice. Familiarise yourself with where they are located as soon as you arrive.
- The Red Frogs organisation will also be available to help patrol the streets, walk you home and offer emotional support. Keep their phone number on hand: 1300557123 and download their app so you can request a walk home during schoolies.
- Always wear your schoolies wristband for identification and take advantage of street patrols, walk-home services and schoolies only areas.
- Take some time to identify what the schoolies volunteers are wearing so you can find them quickly if you need them.
- Have a conversation about the importance of safety with your teenager.
- Develop a safety protocol with them such as agreeing to text or call each other throughout the day, or have them send you a message once they've arrived safely back at their lodging at the end of the night.
- Make sure you are contactable day and night via your mobile phone and check your messages regularly.
- Always travel in pairs or groups and keep tabs of where your friends are at at all times.
- If anyone is to stray from the group, let each other know where you'll be and arrange a time and place to meet
- Never let a friend go home alone or with someone they just met.
- Establish a codeword or gesture with each of your friends for when you are feeling uncomfortable so you can help rescue each other in social situations.
- Have a list of all the friends who your teenager will be with and their contact numbers as well as their parents/family contact numbers.
- Organise a dinner or barbecue with your teen's friends and parents beforehand so you can get to know them better and make sure you're all on the same page.
Drugs & Alcohol
- Avoid excessive drinking, underage drinking or competitive drinking as it could lead to dehydration, alcohol poisoning. impaired judgment and even death.
- Never buy alcohol for someone who is underage.
- Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink that you didn't watch being made.
- Avoid vulnerable places when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, such as balconies or the ocean
- Remind your teen that you want them to return home safely and ensure they know the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
- If your teen has never tried alcohol before but plans on trying it at schoolies, offer to let them try it at home first (provided they are of age) so they can experience it first in a safe environment.
- Take out comprehensive travel insurance so you're protected overseas. Be aware that many travel insurers won't pay out for incidents that involve irresponsible behaviours such as dangerous activities, excessive or underage drinking.
- Once you know your destination, book a doctor's appointment to see if you need any vaccinations or boosters and that any medication you may be taking is legal where you're going.
- Familiarise yourself with the laws of your destination. Even if you are only travelling within Australia, each state has different rules and penalties.
- Register your teen's travel plans at smartraveler.go.au so Smartraveller can contact you if something goes wrong, like a natural disaster.
- If you have your own car, contact your car insurance provider before you leave to ensure you fully understand what you are covered for.
- Do a car health check up before you leave. Check your oil, fluids, petrol, tyres and practice changing a flat tyre before you go.
- Read up on what to do if your car breaks down so you're prepared for the unexpected.
- Assemble an emergency car kit in case you break down, have a collision or someone in your car requires medical attention.
- Organise roadside assistance before you go.
- Get to know the road rules in the country or place where you are going. If you are travelling overseas and plan on driving over there, check that you are able to do so on your current license.
- Never drink or drive or let others drink and drive.
- Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking.
- Never ride on or drive a motorbike or moped without a helmet, or let your friends do so.
- Review the laws for driving on a provisional 1 license under 25 years in your state.
- If your child is driving your car, be sure they are covered on your insurance policy. It's also a good idea to ensure you have cover anyone driving you car, in the event that they need a friend to drive it as a designated driver.
- Quiz your teen on the road rules and driver's license restrictions before they go to ensure they fully understand them.
- If you are going to share things on social media, be sure to turn off your location permissions so others don't know where you are.
- Lock down your privacy settings. Not everyone on your list is a real friend and there may be people viewing your activity who don't have the best intentions.
- Talk to your teens beforehand about the risks involved with social media try to encourage them to limit their activity.
- Help them lock down their profile and disable location permissions.
- Keep sunscreen on you at all times and reapply regularly.
- Swim between the flags and don't attempt to go in the water if you have been drinking.
- Always use crosswalks, walk on the right hand side of the road towards approaching traffic and as close to the curb as possible.
- Stay visible at night by carry something bright
- Look out for your mates when they're crossing the street
- If travelling via public transport at night, always have someone with you and travel in pairs or groups
Keeping in Touch
- Always keep in touch with your family and give them a copy of your itinerary so they know where you are. Also arrange regular phone calls or texts so they're aware of any changes that may occur.
- Store important numbers in your phone including the friends who you are with and their emergency contacts; your insurance providers; your emergency roadside assist, and the Red Frogs (1300 557 123).
- Give the details of your own emergency contacts to your friends so they know who to ring if you're in trouble.
- Discuss with your teen what the best mode of communication is and ensure they have an adequate mobile phone plan and reception where they are going.
- Store their friends phone numbers, and their parents phone numbers on your mobile, as well as the Red Frogs (1300 557 123).