Facts about alcohol for children and teens

Are you curious about alcohol?

Have you seen adults or friends drinking alcohol, or seen adverts about alcohol that make it look fun, and thought about trying it out?

Being curious about alcohol is completely normal – but alcohol is a drug and is dangerous for children, as well as for some adults. It is a legal drug, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe for children to drink.

Alcohol is intended for adults, not children and children’s smaller bodies do not cope with it in the same way as adults.

You may have seen or heard of other children drinking alcohol – and you may have felt pressured by others to drink alcohol yourself, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Alcohol is a drug that affects your brain and your body – like many drugs, it can affect your ability to walk, talk and think clearly. As alcohol is so strong, you might feel dizzy, pass out and even vomit.
  • Most children under the age of 16 don’t drink any alcohol. By the age of 16, some young people may start to experiment with alcohol, but it is still dangerous at this age to drink too much. Advice from doctors, is not to drink alcohol until at least 16 years or older.

If alcohol is so dangerous, why is it legal?

That’s a good question – although making alcohol has been around since ancient times, most governments now have strict rules about alcohol to protect people.

For example, it’s illegal to drink and drive and against the law to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18, or for anyone under 18 to buy alcohol.



Why do some children drink alcohol? 

Some children feel pressured by their friends to drink alcohol – they want to fit in, or not feel left out, and they may think drinking alcohol will make them look grown up and cool.

Good friends won't stop being your friend just because you don't want to drink alcohol with them. If you feel this kind of pressure from friends, talk to a parent or guardian or someone you trust.

And if you're concerned about a friend who's drinking, you should tell a parent or another trusted adult. That way, someone can talk with your friend before the alcohol causes a big problem. 

Get free, confidential advice on alcohol for children and young people from the Support Page.

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