Do’s and Dont’s of Alcohol

A few years ago a senator in my area made big waves about an alcohol wall. Yes, an alcohol wall. The wall was to be imposed on every restaurant so kids would not have to see alcohol being served. This does not mean that those who drank alcohol had to sit in another section; it just meant that kids could not see the alcohol being poured. Sound odd? Yeah, to me too. I am not someone who drinks, but I hardly think that seeing the drink poured as opposed to seeing it consumed would be a big impact.

I was reminded of alcohol wall– which, thankfully, did not make it to fruition– because of a national story about a toddler being served alcohol at an Applebee’s. The worker apparently got confused between the alcohol and the apple juice and served the toddler the wrong one. Whoops. Now the family is suing, because the amount the child was served could have proved lethal if ingested in its entirety. That is a big deal.

After a conversation at work about the interesting and sometimes dumb things kids can get into, I think it would be important to talk about how safety habits and risks of alcohol.

Alcohol and kids do not mix. From the date of conception, babies can be greatly affected by alcohol. Fetal alcohol syndrome affects babies throughout their lives. Babies with FAS have low birth rates, physical and mental deformities, and other life altering disabilities. The saddest part about it? FAS is 100 percent preventable. The mother just does not drink during the pregnancy and the chances of FAS are completely gone. (and there is a really good chance that your very cheap health insurance will not help pay for anything related to this “pre-existing condition.” Good luck paying for that.)

As in the story about the toddler being served alcohol, any amount can be lethal for a child. But that can also be true as an adult. Any small amount, especially if you are an inexperienced drinker, can impair judgment and be lethal. Drunk driving is also 100 percent preventable. Those who drink and drive often think they are not buzzed enough to not drive or they are too dunk to realize their inability to drive. But drinking lowers your inhibitions, sensory perception and the ability to make good judgments. This is why many accidents are caused by drunk drivers.

Drinking alcohol can also lead to risky behaviors, such as promiscuity and overconfidence. And drinking can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. (ever hear of a beer gut?) In fact, at my health insurance screening a few days ago, one of the questions to be considered healthy was “do you drink?”

This is not to be a buster on those who do drink responsibly. Some reports state that a glass of wine everyday can actually have significant health benefits. However, those benefits are negated when that one glass of wine turns into five. If you must drink, be safe and use a designated driver. We will all thank you.