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UK Chief Medical Officers' advice for young people

In 2009, the Chief Medical Advisor issued guidance advising parents not to let their children drink before the age of 15.

The guidance makes 5 key recommendations:

  • Children should have an alcohol-free childhood - if children drink alcohol, it shouldn't be before they are 15 years-old.
  • If young people aged 15 to 17 years-old drink alcohol, it should always be with the guidance of a parent or carer or in a supervised environment.
  • Parents and young people should be aware that drinking, even at age 15 or older, can be hazardous to health and not drinking is the healthiest option.
  • If children aged 15 to 17 drink alcohol they should do so infrequently and on no more than one day a week - they should never drink more than the adult daily limits recommended by the NHS.
  • The importance of parental influence on children's alcohol use should be communicated to parents, carers and professionals support services should be made available for children and young people who have alcohol-related problems and their parents.
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