Hosting a family gathering is difficult regardless of the occasion. As a host, you juggle numerous responsibilities ranging from providing social introductions to preparing a meal. What you may not have realized, however, is that as a host you are also responsible for making sure that no underage drinking is happening at your event.
In Connecticut, underage drinking at your holiday gathering could leave you liable for injuries caused by intoxicated minors. Regardless of whether you rent or own your home, if someone who is under 21 years old consumes alcohol at your house and injures himself or herself or injures someone else you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor, the most serious misdemeanor charge.
Underage drinking can cause serious injuries and even fatalities. Using data from 2006-2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that alcohol is a factor in the deaths of roughly 4,300 people under 21 years old each year. The CDC also determined that most of those deaths are caused by car crashes.
Planning ahead can be a great strategy for preventing underage drinking. To prevent underage partygoers from imbibing at your gathering, consider the following tips:
- Start the conversation early. Talk to your children ahead of time about the dangers of drinking, as well as your expectations of them at the event. If there will be other children at the event, consider connecting with their parents ahead of time too. This will ensure there won't be any misunderstandings about what will be allowed.
- Keep alcoholic drinks separate. If alcoholic drinks will be available for adults at your event, stage them in their own area away from the nonalcoholic drinks. This will help prevent any confusion, and it will make it easier for you and other adults to monitor which guests are consuming alcohol.
- Provide a special nonalcoholic drink. There are many fun recipes available online for nonalcoholic drinks and mocktails that can be enticing for youth and adults alike. Sparkling cider served in a fancy glass can also be a hit with kids. By having a special drink of their own, youth may feel more included in the gathering without feeling tempted to consume alcohol. Just be sure that the nonalcoholic drinks don't look so similar to the alcoholic ones that it could be confusing.
Underage drinking can ruin holiday gatherings. To make sure the big day isn't spoiled, know your responsibility as a host and plan ahead. Hosting a gathering is a big task, but by bringing everyone together, you set up the opportunity for great memories to be made.