Every year several children are injured, killed or abused by caregivers who have been drinking and the authorities are unable to grasp the extent of the problem.
The Chair of the Child and Youth Mortality
Review Committee (CYMRC) said that every child needs a sober caregiver.
Community pediatrician, Dr. Nick Baker said, "Sometimes children are harmed by being in the care of someone who can't keep them safe
properly because they are intoxicated. Older children face added risks from drinking alcohol themselves or being in the company of people who are drunk."
The doctor opined that parents and other caregivers need to model a responsible approach to alcohol as children learn how to act around alcohol by the actions of people around them. He also recommended mandatory breath-testing of caregivers at every youth fatality or serious injury the police attended.
Speaking at the Babies, Children and Alcohol conference at Te Papa, Dr. Baker pointed the following scenarios he has encountered- a parent or caregiver who is impaired by alcohol accidentally suffocating their infant during sleep; or a child under 5-years drowning while being supervised by parents who are impaired by alcohol; or a child growing up in a house where alcohol misuse is the norm, who later misuses alcohol; or a fatal car crash where the driver is impaired and the children were not using car safety restraints.