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Summer is approaching, and more teens take their first drink in June and July than in any other months of the year.

But what’s the big deal if teens drink?

Did you know that the average age of first use in Texas is 13, while the average age for the U.S. is 16? That’s a problem because teens who start drinking before age 15 are seven times more likely to become alcohol dependent and when teens drink, they binge drink 90 percent of the time.

Some parents believe if their child doesn’t get behind the wheel, then drinking is safe. But only 1/3 of alcohol-related deaths for people under 21 are car crashes. Here are some other negative outcomes from underage drinking that can happen even when a child is not driving.

So what is a parent to do? First and foremost, talk to your kids about underage drinking. Talk to them early (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting to talk to them as early as 9 years old) and keep bringing up the conversation casually as a reminder. Let them know you don’t want them drinking until they’re 21 and set some appropriate consequences. For more information on how to delay teen drinking, see our previous blog post here.

 

underage drinking