More than 6,500 under-18s were admitted to A&E departments in 2012/13 in the UK with alcohol-related conditions, of whom 293 were 11 years old or younger. There were also 30 cases of children aged 11 or under staying overnight in hospital with an alcohol-related illness during the same period. Girls in the 12 to 14 and 15 to 17 age groups outnumbered boys for attendances at accident and emergency departments for alcohol-related conditions in 2012/13. Boys outnumbered girls in the category of 11 and under.
Overall the number of attendances at A&E for under-18s with alcohol-related conditions fell from 7,821 in 2011/12 to 6,580 in 2012/13. This is the lowest figure for eight years. The findings come from information released by 125 of the UK’s 189 NHS trust and health boards. Figures cited by LAPE are much higher than this for the whole UK at 12,233 for 2010.
Elaine Hindal, chief executive Drinkaware, urged parents to talk to their children about the risks of drinking. “These findings are a stark reminder about the dangerous consequences of alcohol misuse. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol as their bodies are still developing.
“Drinkaware is urging parents to talk to their children about the risks of drinking alcohol, and most children tell us they would turn to their parents first for information and advice. As important role models for children when it comes to alcohol use, we encourage parents to have open and honest discussions about the risks of underage drinking. We believe that the ‘alcohol chat’ is better in the living room than in A&E.”