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Booze fuels rise in young children admitted to hospital

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Nearly 100 children aged under eight have been admitted to A&E units for alcohol-related problems in the past year, government figures have revealed.

Responding to a parliamentary question by Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Norman Lamb, health minister Dawn Primarolo said 95 children aged under eight had presented in emergency departments with alcohol problems.

Overall, the number of girls aged under 18 attending A&E to be treated for drink also increased from 3,084 in 2002 to 4,538 in 2007. The number of boys under 18 attending A&E with drink problems also increased from 3,013 to 3,686. Last year, there were 272 boys and 209 girls under 12 admitted.

Mr Lamb said: ‘These are shocking figures, reflecting a culture where binge drinking is truly out of control.

‘A child admitted to hospital because of alcohol before their ninth birthday is likely to suffer dreadful health consequences later in life. These children cannot wait. We need urgent action on all fronts to reverse this trend,' he added.

‘The responsibility is not just on government but on drinks manufacturers, retailers and parents to recognise the scale of the problem,’ he said.

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