Date Published: June 4, 2019
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Laszlo Trefan, Andrea Gartner, Amy Alcock, Daniel Farewell, Jennifer Morgan, David Fone, Shantini Paranjothy, Sadie Boniface.
Harmful levels of alcohol consumption in young people are prevalent and of increasing public concern in the western world. Rates of alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions in children and young people between 10 to 17 years were described, and the reasons for these admissions and their association with socio-demographic factors were examined.
E-cohort data were extracted from the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank, which contained alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions (N = 2968) from 2006 to 2011 in children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 years in Wales. A generalised linear mixed model was fitted using a log-link with a population offset to the data to calculate incident rate ratios (IRRSs).
There was a general decreasing trend from 2006 to 2011 in the number and rate of alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions; the mean age of admission was 15.4 (standard deviation 1.4) years. In each of the four youngest age groups (10–13,14,15,16 years), females had higher IRRs than males. Males had slightly higher IRR compared to females only in the oldest age group (17 years). IRRs increased with increasing deprivation. The majority (92%) of the admissions lasted one day and most of the admissions (70%) occured during the last three days of the week with a peak on Saturday. The length of stay in hospital was longer in cases when self-harm were present. Multiple admissions showed high prevalance of serious self-harm cases in females. The number of admissions with injuries and falls were higher for males than females.
Female children and adolescents were more likely to be admitted to hospital for alcohol-related reasons. These data illustrate the significant burden of alcohol-related harm in young people and highlight the need for interventions and policies that promote safe drinking practices among young people to prevent future alcohol-related harm during the life-course.
Harmful levels of alcohol consumption in children and young people are prevalent in the western world and infulenced by several factors including social position among peers, family  and school socioeconomic status .
During the six-year study period, there were 2,968 alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions in 2708 children and adolescents aged between 10 and 18 years. This represents a mean annual rate of 9.9 per 1,000 population, declining over the study period, from 12.9 per 1,000 population in 2006 to 8.1 per 1,000 in 2011 (S2 Table and Fig 1). The majority of individuals (N = 2515, 93%) had only one admission during the study period, whilst the remaining 7% were admitted at least twice. Sixteen of these admissions resulted in death in hospital and six of these had an alcohol-related underlying cause of death. The mean age at admission and its standard deviation were 15.4 and 1.4 years, respectively.
Our analysis showed a decreasing trend in alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions in children and young people in Wales. However, a substantial number of children and young people continue to be admitted to hospital for alcohol related harms. Children who lived in areas with higher levels of social deprivation and girls aged 10–16 years old were at higher risk of these types of hospital admissions. The vast majority of the admissions were shorter than two days in hospital and most of the admissions happened during the last three days of the week with a peak on Saturdays. The analysis of the multiple alcohol-related hospital admissions showed an association with more serious, intentional self-harm cases, that was more prevalent among females. These data provide some insights into at-risk groups that could be better targetted with public health interventions.
This work studied alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions of children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 years in Wales between 2006 and 2011. Although there was a decreasing trend in the rate of these admissions, the absolute number of admissons is still high in Wales. The results show that generally females had higher incident rate ratios up to the age of 16 years. Higher deprivation and living in towns are further factors for higher incident rate ratios. The results also show that in a significant number of cases intentional self-harm were present. The vast majority of the length of admissions were within a day, however, at the present of self-harm this length was slightly longer. The number of alcohol-related admissions with injuries, head injuries and falls recorded were higher for males than females. These findings show that alcohol-related harm is still prevalent among children and young people and better targeted intervention practices and policies are needed.