Underage Drinking: A Scary Halloween Season Problem
When you’re the parent of a young child, Halloween can be a stressful time. You have to create that perfect costume, come up with a safe trick-or-treating route, and when the big night finally arrives, chaperone excited and candy-craving children through the spooky streets.
When you’re the parent of a teenager, some of this stress goes away. But just because your child is past the age of trick-or-treating doesn’t mean that dangers don’t lurk on Halloween. For teenagers, one big issue is underage drinking — especially when it happens under the watch of adults.
Underage drinking is a problem at all times of the year, not just Halloween and other holidays. People between the ages of 15 and 21 account for 11% of all alcohol consumption in the United States. 20% of young people ages 12 to 20 drink alcohol. Teenage drinking tends to involve binge drinking, or drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a short time. Overall, underage drinking leads to around 189,000 emergency room visits every year. These incidents are mostly due to alcohol poisoning and injuries sustained in alcohol-influenced accidents.
Clearly, teen drinking is a serious issue. But unfortunately, some adults don’t do enough to stop it. In fact, many encourage it. One in four parents admit to allowing their children to drink under parental supervision.
Not a Big Deal?
There are many reasons why adults might not see teen drinking as a big deal. Some parents believe that it is safer for teens to experiment with alcohol under adult supervision, rather than with their peers. Others feel that a less strict approach will allow their children to be more honest about alcohol. Some think that drinking is permissible during special occasions, like a family gathering, a wedding, or a vacation. For many, allowing teens to drink seems like a harmless decision. But underage drinking is illegal. Not only can it lead to serious injuries, but it can also create a big liability issue.
According to Florida Statutes, any “person having control of a residence” may not allow a house party to take place if “any alcoholic beverage is possessed or consumed at the residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcoholic beverage.” Any violation of this provision is a second degree misdemeanor or a first degree misdemeanor if it leads to seriously bodily harm or death.
Preventing Injuries and Accidents
Even if an adult does not directly supply the alcohol, they can still be liable if they know underage drinking is happening. This means that a parent who turns a blind eye to their teen’s party is still liable, just like the parent who gives alcohol to their kid. Regardless of the situation, any adult who knowingly allows underage drinking to happen is potentially liable for any injuries that occur.
Luckily, all these issues are easily prevented! To prevent injuries, accidents, and legal issues, simply don’t allow your kids to drink until they are 21, and make sure they know to leave a party where alcohol is being consumed. Especially around fun holidays like Halloween, it can be tempting to allow teens to have a drink or two. But to prevent injuries or even fatalities, don’t allow underage drinking — there are plenty of other ways to have fun!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.