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Working in a trauma center in Seattle, I am often confronted by the problem of alcohol and its role in injury. As many as 45% of our adult trauma patients are intoxicated at the time of their injury, and at least one half of these have chronic alcohol abuse or dependency.1 Attention to the impact of alcohol on injuries to children and adolescents has to date been very limited. I believe it is a problem that our Society and this Journal should not ignore.
Children and adolescents are placed at risk of injuries in a number of ways. First, adults with problem drinking place children in their care at increased risk of injury. Bijur and her colleagues, using data from the US National Health Interview Survey, found that children of mothers classified as problem drinkers had more than twice the risk of injury than children of mothers who were non-drinkers.2 This risk of injury was increased to nearly …