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Parents told not to give alcohol to children under 15

The new campaign is part of Alcohol Awareness Week Photo: PA

Parents in the North East are being warned about the dangers of allowing children to drink alcohol.

As part of new campaign for Alcohol Awareness Week, parents are being encouraged to make sure sure alcoholic drinks are not consumed before the age of 18, and definitely not before the age of 15. The alcohol awareness charity Balance says this is the safest option because there are risks to developing bodies and brains.

A new survey of North East parents shows nearly 8/10 (78%) would first talk to their children about alcohol before the age of 15, but almost half (43%) think children should have their first taste of alcohol before 15 – despite evidence showing children who start drinking at an early age are more likely to become heavy drinkers when they are older.

The warning comes as new figures suggest parenting tactics aimed at creating a safer relationship with alcohol and introducing drinking at a younger age could actually be giving our children a taste for booze.

Balance is launching the What’s the Harm campaign to raise awareness of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidance that an alcohol free childhood up to 18 is the healthiest and best option, and that if children do drink this should not be before age 15.

Many parents know drinking increases the risks of accidents, injuries, smoking and drug taking. But many are not aware of the damage alcohol can do to children’s developing brains, liver, bones and hormones, affecting their mood, their mental health and risking them falling behind at school.

A new survey of North East parents shows nearly 8/10 (78%) would first talk to their children about alcohol before the age of 15, but almost half (43%) think children should have their first taste of alcohol before 15 – despite evidence showing children who start drinking at an early age are more likely to become heavy drinkers when they’re older.