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Kids should learn about alcohol ‘at age 9’

Parents wondering about when to tell their children about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption should discuss it with their kids at age 9, a report into child health says.

child drinking
The report says that early intervention will help prevent dangerous views on alcohol (Photo: Pixabay)

Children begin to develop impressions about alcohol before they reach puberty, and parents should discuss drinking with them as early as possible, the study claims.

Dr. Lorena Siqueira, clinical professor of paediatrics at Florida International University and co-author of the report, told Live Science that “[Alcohol] is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents,” but because it is legal for adults, it’s not as stringently punished.

It is therefore better for parents to intervene before negative alcohol habits begin to develop, and the scientists reckon this should take place when the child is around the age of 9.

The report, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics journal, Pediatrics, also said that 50% of high school children had tried alcohol, and of these, 60% binge drink.

However, the threshold at which drinking is considered to be at bingeing levels is much lower for teenagers. The report regards teenagers having only three drinks as bingeing.

Among the small number 12- to 14-year-olds who drink alcohol – less than 1% – approximately half binge drink, according to the report.

The study recommends that parents use every opportunity to bring up the topic of alcohol with their children, such as when watching a film that shows drinking.

“If you’re driving, and you see someone swerving, talk about that. If you see it in a movie, talk to your kids about it then,” Dr Siqueira said.

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