Underage Drinking is Never Safe, Even During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a rough time for teenagers. Too old to look forward to playing with new toys yet often too young to enjoy conversation at the “adult table” during gatherings, plenty of teens find themselves bored and restless during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. To keep teens engaged, it’s tempting to allow them to have a small glass of wine or alcoholic eggnog with the adults. Have you ever done this?

Teens, Parents, and Alcohol Access

If you have, you’re not alone.  One in four parents admit to allowing their children to have alcohol under adult supervision. Many adults don’t think of underage drinking as that big of a deal. Some parents feel that it is safer for teens to experiment with alcohol under supervision, rather than with their peers. Others think that a less strict approach will teach their children to be honest about alcohol. In some cases, parents allow underage drinking during special occasions, like a wedding or holiday gathering.

In these situations, teen drinking 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.

The Consequences of Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is a problem at all times of the year, not just during the 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.

According to Florida Statutes, any “person having control of a residence” may not allow a house party or any other gathering to take place if “any alcohol 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 serious bodily harm or death.

Avoiding Holiday Troubles

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. Especially around the holidays, 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 make the holidays fun for teens!

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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.

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