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Keeping Your Child Safe: Alcohol. Alcohol. “It’s ok for my child to have to the occasional drink of alcohol. I just don’t want them using drugs”. Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol. Areas for concern.

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“It’s ok for my child to have to the occasional drink of alcohol. I just don’t want them using drugs”

Alcohol is a drug


areas for concern
Areas for concern

Crime:Criminal damage and anti social behaviour caused by young people under the influence of alcohol

Health:Admission to A&E, mental and physical development during childhood and adolescents.

Sexual Health/Teenage Pregnancy:Young people having sex whilst under the influence of alcohol

Adults:Buying alcohol for young people

Parents:Unaware of the strength of some alcoholic drinks



National Data

  • A total of 33% of young people reported getting drunk in the last 30 days (The 2007 ESPAD report: alcohol and other drug use among students in 35 European countries)
  • 87% of 11-15 year olds who had tried to purchase alcohol at a pub or bar were successful as were 73% who tried to buy from a shop. (Bates et al., 2005)
  • In England in 2009, 35 under – 18s were admitted to hospital every day for conditions directly related to alcohol (Alcohol Concern - Making Sense of Alcohol 2010)


have you had an alcoholic drink in the week before the survey
Have you had an alcoholic drink in the week before the survey?





Year 8

Year 10


local data
Local data

Primary Schools

  • 9% said they had at least one alcoholic drink (more than just a sip) in the last seven days.
  • 50% of primary pupils don't drink alcohol.
  • 3% of pupils reported that they drink alcohol without their parents knowing at least sometimes.
  • 43% of pupils reported that their parents always knew if they drank alcohol.


local data1
Local data

Secondary Schools

  • 21% of year 8 pupils reported they had an alcoholic drink in the last seven days before the survey.
  • 44% of year 10 pupils reported they drank alcohol in the last 7 days. This is slightly lower with 45% reported in 2008 and 2006 and a fall from 49% reported in 2004.
  • 21% of females and 17% of males from year 10 pupils had drank alcohol outside in a public place (street, park, etc) in the last 7 days.
  • 19% of pupils drank alcohol at home and 16% drank at a friend’s or relation’s home. 9% of pupils drank alcohol outside in a public place.


adverse consequences of drinking alcohol for children and young people
Adverse consequences of drinking alcohol for children and young people

Appetite changes

Weight loss

Sleep disturbance

Vomiting and coma (most common)

Liver disease



Road traffic accidents


Performance at school/work

Aggressive behaviour

High risk sexual behaviour

Sustain an injury, often as a result of an assault

Vulnerable to being the victims of crime

Subtle brain damage and long lasting cognitive deficits

(based on Newbury-Birch et al. 2008)



Should I let my child drink?

An alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option. However, if children drink alcohol, it should not be until at least the age of 15 years.

Drinking alcohol, even at the age 15 or older, can be hazardous to health. If 15 to 17 year olds do consume alcohol, they should do so infrequently and certainly no more than one day a week.

(Chief Medical Officer, 2009)



Know your limits?

Young people aged 15 to 17 years should never exceed recommended adult daily limits. On days when they do drink, consumption should usually be below such levels and should always be with the guidance of a parent or carer or in a supervised environment.

(Chief Medical Officer, 2009)

2 to 3 units per day for a women

3 to 4 units per day for a man



1.5 litre bottle of Lambrini (7.5%ABV) = 11.25 units

  • 1 pint of Stella Artois (5.2% ABV) = 2.95 units
  • 1 large glass of white/red wine (250ml, 13%ABV) = 3.25 units
  • 1 bottle of Budwiser (330ml ,5%ABV) = 1.65 units
  • 1 large single glass of Jack Daniels (35ml,40%ABV) = 1.4 units
  • WKD (275ml,5% ABV) = 1.38 units
  • 1 large single glass of Vodka (35ml,40% ABV) = 1.4 units



In the UK, children aged 11-17 years drink around 17.2 million units of alcohol every week.

That is the equivalent of 6.9 million pints of beer or 1.7 million bottles of wine.



Should I let my child drink?

It’s up to you to decide whether your child is allowed to drink and if so how much. But…..

Educate and inform Make sure your children understand the positive and negative sides associated with alcohol. Make sure you know how strong different drinks and brands are.

Challenge stereotypes Show your children that its possible to enjoy yourself without drinking. It’s OK not to drink!

  • Lead by example How exposed are your children to alcohol- fuelled situations, environments and behaviour?

Set clear boundaries Establish what is acceptable regarding alcohol consumption and/or behaviour and stick to it.

  • Encourage Positive Alternatives Encourage your children to pursue positive social interests e.g. organised youth activities.
talking about alcohol
Talking about alcohol
  • Potential dangers - from health to safety
  • Not all young people drink
  • How they may feel or what they may do under pressure
  • Alcohol can influence people's judgment
  • How it might feel to regret something the next day
  • Alcohol affects people in different ways
  • Alcohol can make some people aggressive
  • Keeping safe and walking away from trouble
  • What to do in an emergency
  • Your own attitudes to alcohol

Taken from



If you fear your child is drinking a lot:

Try not too panic.

Ensure you have support for yourself as well as your child.

Accusing, arguing or threatening won't help.

Wait until you are calm and they are sober, before talking about your concerns.

Encourage them to tell you what's happening.

Don't expect instant results. Drinking may be covering up other problems.



Emergency Situations:

Try to keep the young person sitting up or put them in the recovery position.

Stay with them.

If they lose consciousness (e.g. they don’t wake up, respond to their name) call 999 immediately.

Recovery position


  • In Hertfordshire majority of 12 – 15 year olds do not drink. (70%)
  • Help your young person promote a 100% Hangover Free lifestyle.



Local and national help and support

  • Family Lives 0808 800 22 22
  • Parental Drug Awareness Service (PDAS) 01707 393 934
  • A-DASH (Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Service) 01923 427 288
  • For information on Parenting and Family Support Programmes in Hertfordshire
  • For more information on other local alcohol services in Hertfordshire please contact Drinkline on 0800 917 8282