Parents who provide 16 and 17-year-olds with alcohol to take on holiday may be inadvertently putting them at risk, campaigners warned today.

A survey for alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware found that almost two-fifths (39%) would give alcohol to youngsters going on a week long holiday if requested.

Of those, more than half (53%) would give five or more bottles of spirits or wine.

More than a third (36%) would prefer their child to get alcohol from them rather than an unknown source.

More than one in five (22%) said they buy their teenager alcohol to keep track of the amount they will drink.

Parents are happy to give alcohol to their children, despite two-fifths (41%) knowing that their child has had a bad drinking experience.

One in five is aware their child has been involved in an accident (20%) or had unprotected sex (21%) when drinking and 79% know their child has been sick.

Chris Sorek, chief executive of Drinkaware, said: "Lots of 16 and 17-year-olds will want to mark the end of exams by celebrating with friends on a trip away, but if parents provide them with alcohol, it could inadvertently put them at risk.

"Parents might think they're doing the right thing by ensuring alcohol comes from them instead of somewhere else, but when young people drink to excess it can compromise their personal safety and increase the chances of them having unprotected sex or being involved in an accident."

He added: "To help their children stay safe, parents should avoid giving them alcohol for unsupervised holidays and talk to them about possible risks."

As well as providing advice for parents, the charity is tackling alcohol misuse among the age group in Newquay.

Launched in conjunction with the Newquay Safe Partnership, led by the local council and police, the 'Got Your Back' campaign aims to encourage friends to look out for each other and think about the short-term risks of excessive alcohol consumption.

During the month after the end of their exams, thousands of 16 and 17-year-olds are set to arrive in Newquay to holiday with their friends. Drinkaware is taking over a cafe on the popular Fistral Beach to create an alcohol-free venue where friends can meet and eat discounted food while having access to facts and information about alcohol.

Celebrations in Newquay were last year marred by a series of accidents which saw the death of two students who fell from cliffs and one who suffered a broken neck.

Yesterday a coroner recorded an open verdict at an inquest for Paddy Higgins, 16, of Winnersh, Berkshire, who died after falling from cliffs in Newquay on July 6, 2009.

He was celebrating the end of his GCSEs with friends and tests showed he was three times over the legal drink-drive limit, the inquest in Truro heard.

His father, John, welcomed the measures introduced to try to tackle alcohol-related problems in Newquay but said it was too early to say if they had been successful.

He told the BBC: "We will only know if they've worked after the season and the years after. We have just got to hope they are going to be enough."

Of his son, he added: "He made a couple of a mistakes, but we don't want him to be remembered for just the fact that he had drunk too much."

Mr Sorek said: "Addressing the topic of alcohol with 16 and 17-year-olds is key to making a positive difference to their attitudes about alcohol.

"We want to remind young people that you don't need alcohol to celebrate and that drinking too much can be risky."

Parents looking for advice about young people and alcohol can visit http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/parents - the dedicated 'parents' section of the Drinkaware website.

:: Research was carried out online between May 21 and 27 by OnePoll with 1,000 parents of 16 and 17-year-olds in the UK.

Comments