Alcohol in children
Alcohol has a much stronger effect on children than on adults. This is partly because children are less used to alcohol, partly because they weigh much less and have a much smaller blood volume, and partly because the reduction of alcohol depends, among other things, on body weight. So what an adult does not even feel can already cause alcohol poisoning in children.
Since alcohol poisoning in children can be fatal even more quickly, an immediate presentation in hospital is necessary – even with small amounts of alcohol that adults would consider void. Alcohol can also cause permanent brain damage in children. Alcohol is also teratogenic, which means it damages the embryo if taken during pregnancy.
Late consequences of excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy are typically microcephaly (small head), reduced intelligence, short stature, speech and hearing disorders, skeletal malformations such as funnel chest and spinal curvature. Furthermore, lack of concentration, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, slowing down, low frustration tolerance and quick distractibility, just to name a few. In summary, one speaks of a fetal alcohol syndrome.
The exact signs depend on the month of pregnancy in which most alcohol was consumed. Alcohol consumption in the second trimester (4th-6th month) is most likely to lead to a miscarriage. Children carry lifelong consequences that cannot be treated postnatally. Strict abstinence from alcohol and nicotine during pregnancy is therefore all the more important.