No parent wants to think of their teen slamming beers after a football game or sneaking alcohol out of their own liquor cabinet, but the fact is, many teens are going to experiment with alcohol. And given the temptations they face, it's best to arm them -- and yourself -- with the facts.
Dr. Alanna Levine: Alcohol is the most widely used substance abused by teens in the U.S. Most parents understand the importance of talking to their teens about the dangers of drinking alcohol and its consequences. However, a new study in the journal Pediatrics reveals that we may not be getting specific enough in these conversations.
Of particular concern is binge drinking -- a common practice among teens. A "binge" is defined as drinking enough alcohol to attain a blood alcohol level that leads to significant physical and mental impairment in a short period of time. The number of drinks that constitutes a binge for a child is different than you might think. As the study points out, you must take into account the fact that the body composition of a child is different from that of an adult. Having these specific numbers will help parents better educate their children on when they have had enough.
According to the study, binge drinking should be defined as:
9- to 17-year-old girls: ≥ 3 drinks in a 2-hour period
9- to 13-year-old boys: ≥ 3 drinks in a 2-hour period
14- to 15-year-old boys: ≥ 4 drinks in a 2-hour period
16- to 17-year-old boys: ≥ 5 drinks in a 2-hour period
As prom time approaches, it is particularly important to educate teens about the effects of alcohol on judgment. Parents should use these concrete numbers to help their children avoid getting into dangerous situations. And, always be sure to remind your children to never get into an automobile with anyone who has been drinking.
|Dr. Alanna Levine is a pediatrician in private practice and on staff at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where she attends high risk deliveries and cares for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She frequently appears as a medical expert on various news outlets and lives in New York with her husband and their two children.|