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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Drunk girl, three, treated at north Cumbria hospital

A three-year-old girl was the youngest person hospitalised for being drunk in north Cumbria, figures have revealed.

The youngster was among four children who needed hospital treatment for alcohol abuse at hospitals in Whitehaven and Carlisle run by North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust since 2009.

The statistics have been released in response to a Freedom of Information request, which revealed 380 children aged 10 or under were treated across the UK for the effects of too much alcohol between 2008 and 2012.

In north Cumbria, the figures included both a three-year-old and four year-old treated at hospital after taking alcohol.

An eight-year-old girl was also treated for drunkenness.

Experts say the figures may represent “one-off” incidents but said they also highlighted the need for parents to behave responsibly with alcohol.

Helen Davies, from Cumbria Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service (Cadas) suggested that the hospital admissions may have been the results of parental carelessness.

She said: “It’s difficult to comment without knowing the particular circumstances.

“But we certainly haven’t seen children as young as three who need help.

“The youngest person we have seen was 13.

“We have seen examples of parents who buy their children drinks like WKD because they don’t think there’s any alcohol in it when there’s actually quite a lot.

“It’s obviously the responsibility of all parents to keep their children safe around alcohol, making sure it’s kept somewhere secure where the children can’t get hold of it.

“Parents also have to make sure they are acting responsibly in terms of providing a good role model.

“As a society, we are so blase about alcohol because it is so easy to use.

“If you are regularly getting drunk when your children are around you may not be aware of what they’re doing, and they may want to drink out of curiosity, and because they want to copy adults. We do see some young people who are concerned about their parents’ drinking, and they often don’t know how to deal with it, or how to talk to their parents about it.”

Cadas works closely with organisations such as Young Carers, and has seen children who have had to care for their parents because they have been so drunk. Mrs Davies suggested that hospitals which see young people with a history of alcohol-related hospital admissions could profitably work with organisations such as Cadas to offer them help. Any young person who is concerned about their parents or their own drinking can contact Cadas on 01228 544140.

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