Half of parents let their under-14s drink alcohol at home

22nd August 2016

  • 49% of parents with children under the age of 14 let them drink alcohol at home
  • Almost one in 10 (8%) of these parents let their children drink alcohol in the home at least once a month
  • More than one in 10 (11%) parents with children aged five to seven allow them to drink alcohol in the home. Some even let them drink every day.

New research from Churchill Home Insurance reveals half of parents1 with children aged under 14 allow them to drink alcohol at home despite guidance from the Chief Medical Officer that they shouldn't do so until they're at least 15 years old, and even then rarely and never more than once a week. More than one in 10 (11%) parents with children aged five to seven allow them to drink alcohol in the home, while some even let them drink every day.

More than half (56%) of parents with children aged 16-17 let them drink alcohol at home, with around one in 10 (9%) letting them do so on a weekly basis. It is not illegal for a child aged five to 16 to drink alcohol at home or on other private premises. However, the Chief Medical Officer’s report2 into the consumption of alcohol by children highlights those that drink under 14 have increased health risks, including alcohol-related injuries, involvement in violence and suicidal attempts.

Parents with children under 14 are even using alcohol as a bribe to try and ensure good behaviour. Of those who allow their children to consume alcohol in the home, more than a third (34%) do so to help prevent their offspring rebelling. Around a quarter (24%) do so because they see nothing wrong with their children drinking alcohol. Nearly a third (32%) said allowing them to drink in the home allows them to monitor their child’s alcohol consumption. One in 10 (10%) parents highlighted that tighter identification checks have made it harder for their children to purchase alcohol themselves, so they make it available at home3.

Parents of under-14s are most likely to allow them to drink at a special family occasion (57%). While 42% of parents that let their children drink at home say they would allow them to do so after they have done well at school. A quarter (24%) of parents with children aged under 14 would let their children do so when they have friends round and 19% would do so before a night out.

One in seven parents (14%) have seen their child have an accident while under the influence of alcohol in their home. One in 20 (6%) parents have witnessed their child sustain a serious injury, such as a broken bone or concussion, as a result of their child consuming alcohol, while 8% have seen their offspring suffer a minor injury such as a cut or bruise.

Churchill’s research highlights that parents are also willing to let other people’s children drink in their home. One in five (20%) parents allow minors who aren’t family members to drink alcohol in their home. Parents have also seen the children of other people injured in their home due to alcohol consumption - nine per cent of these adults have seen a child suffer an injury on their property, ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance said: “The relationship between children and alcohol in Britain always seems more fraught than for our continental cousins. Many parents want their children to have a responsible attitude to drinking and introduce alcohol in a safe, controlled environment. The challenge any parent will recognise is how to prevent excessive drinking, especially amongst teenagers.”

Martin Scott continued: “Whenever people are drinking in the home, there's a greater risk of injury or property damage as alcohol has a significant impact on co-ordination. It is, therefore, important for householders to ensure they have accidental damage cover as part of their home insurance, to meet the cost of replacing items that might get knocked or broken.”

  1. Research conducted by Opinium amongst a representative sample of 1005 UK parents of children aged 5-17 completed between 3 to 10 June 2016
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2595.aspx?categoryid=62
  3. https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcohol-and-the-law/the-law-on-alcohol-and-under-18s/
  4. For further information please contact:

    Claire Foster
    Churchill PR Manager
    01651831672
    07525665504
    claire.foster@directlinegroup.co.uk

    Antonia Green
    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    0207 282 2967
    Antonia.green@citigatedr.co.uk

    Churchill

    Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

    Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

    Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

    Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com