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Report roundup: Avoiding ‘parenting hangovers’ this holiday

Alcohol is often a part of special events and celebrations, such as weddings and holiday gatherings. For parents, celebrating with alcohol comes with the responsibility of making plans for the care of their children. Our December Mott Poll report asked parents of children 0-9 years about their experiences with alcohol and special occasions. Parents and media across the country have been discussing this topic and sharing their advice for parents. Here’s a roundup of the conversation.

The night of the party

Among parents who reported drinking alcoholic beverages during special events, 73% said they are very likely to make plans in advance for someone to watch their child during the event, and 68% said they are very likely to plan for transportation, such as a designated driver. This was highlighted in a Reuters article, One in four U.S. parents unprepared for holiday hangover. Reporter Linda Carroll noted that while most parents were prepared in planning for the night of an event, some parents had witnessed adults who were not as diligent, causing an unsafe situation for a child due to over-consumption. “Enjoy the holidays, but you need to make arrangements to fulfill your parenting responsibilities,” said Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark. “Even a mild hangover combined with a two-year-old can be a problem if you don’t have energy and may not feel as alert as you would be otherwise.”

The day after

1 in 4 parents in the Mott Poll who drink alcohol on special occasions are not likely to plan how much they drink or whether they’ll be able to take care of their child the next day. This was the focus of a HealthDay article, Parents, think before you drink this holiday. Reporter Robert Preidt pointed out that while many parents consider childcare the night of an event, parents may not be thinking of how alcohol might affect their parenting the day after. “A parent passed out on the couch will not be effective in recognizing and reacting to the everyday safety risks that occur with children,” said Clark. “If alcohol use may potentially impact their ability to take care of their children the following day, parents may also consider child care arrangements.”

Tips for parents

How can parents ensure the safety of their kids and still enjoy themselves? Clark offers suggestions in a Michigan Health Blog post, 1 in 4 parents not prepared for ‘parenting hangovers’ from holiday parties. “Parents who plan to drink alcoholic beverages during an outing should plan ahead for transportation to ensure they arrive home safely,” said Clark. “Having children stay the night at a relative’s home or asking a grandparent to stay overnight are options to ensure young children are in a safe and supervised environment.”

For more coverage of our December Mott Poll report check out these articles from Fatherly, New York Post, Scary Mommy, FOX News, Red Tricycle, and BBC.