British parents told no alcohol for under-15s
The UK government today warned parents that children under 15 should never be allowed to drink alcohol, even a small amount. The legal age to buy alcohol in the UK is 18, the highest in the EU. However, children under 18 are allowed to drink in their own homes with their parents' consent, unless they are under 5. The government said today that although it is legal to let a child between 5 and 15 drink at home, parents should not do so.
Parents should not let their children drink any alcohol until they are 15, the British government said today after a review of medical evidence.
Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson made the recommendation as part of government efforts to reduce the levels of youth drinking.
He said a third of a million children aged 11-15 were getting drunk every week.
"That is a very large number and we need to do something about that," he told BBC radio.
"There is emerging medical evidence now to suggest that damage to the structure and function of the brain takes place with exposure to alcohol at those sorts of ages."
The law leaves control of drinking at home to a parent's discretion and only bars the consumption of alcohol by children under five.