10-year-old youngest Dutch binge drinker
Binge drinking among Dutch children appears to be taking on alarming proportions.
In a front-page article, national newspaper reports that a 10-year-old was admitted to hospital last week after he went into a coma as a result of alcohol poisoning. Previously, the youngest person to receive treatment for alcohol poisoning had been 12 years old.
Paediatrician Nico van der Lely runs the Youth and Alcohol outpatients clinic at the Reinier de Graaf Hospital in Delft. In his recently published book he writes that 75 percent of teenagers admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning received their first drink from their parents.
His book is primarily intended for parents and care-givers: “For years I’ve focussed my efforts on policy makers, trying to get them to raise the legal drinking age from 16 to 18, but so far to no avail. Parents also play an important role in the alcohol abuse of their children.”
Dr Van der Lely argues that parents who drink alcohol provide a bad example. They should set clear rules for their children regarding the use of alcohol, and must be consistent. So, no half glass of wine on New Year’s Eve: no exceptions.
The Dutch paediatrician writes that drinking at home under parental supervision is not a good idea. “Children drinking under parental supervision have an elevated risk of alcohol-related problems later in life. Parents should postpone their children’s first drink for as long as possible.”
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide