Parental Drinking

September 6, 2011

Many parents say they know the importance of setting a good example for their children. Now a new study warns parents that drink alcohol can lead their children to engage in a very risky behavior behind the wheel of a car.

New University of Florida research show that parents who drink increase the risks that those kids will eventually drive under the influence of alcohol. Researchers say kids might have more access to alcohol around the house when a parent drinks. Experts warn that kids don’t stop learning from their parents even when they are teenagers.

Dr. Mildred Maldonado-Molina/UF Researcher: “Their behaviors are being observed by their kids. It is important to monitor the home access to alcohol, either with their parental permission or without, and understand that those behaviors are influencing their kids risky behaviors later in life when they are young adults.”

Researchers say kids with parents and peers that drink face the greatest risk for driving under the influence. Researchers say educating children about the dangers of drinking and driving is very important for prevention of the behavior.

Dr. Mildred Maldonado-Molina/UF Researcher: “It definitely has to begin when they are adolescents. We cannot wait until they are 21.”

Traffic crashes have become the leading cause of death among young people in the United States.