Underage Drinking

Using data from emergency rooms throughout Chicago, Lurie Children’s researchers found that the number of teenage ER admissions related to alcohol use spiked during certain 3-day weekends in 2016. These spikes often corresponded with holidays or major music festivals where teenage drinking may be common, particularly during Lollapalooza weekend which resulted in the year's highest number of admission rates.

Though underage drinking may be common, that doesn’t make it safe. During the 2016 Lollapalooza weekend, 65 teens were treated for alcohol poisoning in Chicago’s ERs. Fortunately, ER admissions during Lollapalooza in 2016 were down 26% from 2015 levels (see the 2015 data) and 46% from 2014 levels. Let's get the number down to zero in 2017. 

The downtrend is due to enormous combined efforts from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Chicago police, the Mayor’s office, the Department of Public Health, the organizers of Lollapalooza, and parents throughout the community. 

The graphic below illustrates the impact that these other events during 2016 had on underage drinking rates.



Click to enlarge the image.

Please feel free to share the infographic above on your own blog or website. When you do, please give credit and link to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
 

Strategies for Discouraging Underage Drinking

As a parent, there are things you can to do mitigate the risks associated with excessive underage drinking. Start by setting high expectations for your kids and giving them the support they need to make healthy decisions. A few festival-specific tips are below:

  • Tell your kids that you hope they have a good time at Lollapalooza, but if they are underage, you expect them not to drink alcohol (or use any other drugs for that matter). You may be thinking that your kids won’t listen to you, but multiple studies have shown that for health-related matters, teens listen to their parents.
  • Talk to the parents of the other teens your child will be at the festival with, and share your expectation that your child won’t drink and you hope that they support this stance. Most likely they will agree with you. A united parental front about expectations of teen behavior will carry additional weight.
  • Require that they check-in with you every few hours by phone or text.
  • Know where they are sleeping after the concert. If they are going to another teen’s house, make sure a parent is home and awake when they arrive.
 
Please feel free to share the infographic above on your own blog or website. When you do, please give credit and link to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. - See more at: https://www.luriechildrens.org/en-us/care-services/specialties-services/heart-center/heart-evaluation-testing/Pages/ekg-infographic.aspx#sthash.wcpM5SRO.dpufPlease feel free to share the infographic above on your own blog or website. When you do, please give credit and link to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.