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Child Health Month -- October 1998

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has designated October as Child Health Month. This year, the AAP is focusing on the prevention of alcohol use and abuse that affects children and youth. Specific priorities include fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), underage drinking, children of alcoholics, drinking and driving, and binge drinking.

Alcohol use during pregnancy has been cited as the most common known nongenetic cause of mental retardation among children and youth (1). Approximately 700 children aged 0-15 years die each year in alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes; many of these children were being transported by a drunk driver (2). Approximately 80% of high school students have had at least one drink of alcohol, and one third have had five or more drinks on one or more occasions in any given month (3). During October, CDC, in collaboration with AAP and other organizations, will highlight the consequences of alcohol use as it relates to children and youth.

Additional information about Child Health Month is available from AAP, telephone (847) 981-7871, or the World-Wide Web,; and from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, World-Wide Web, Information about FAS and other alcohol-related birth defects and developmental disabilities is available from CDC's Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Section, telephone (770) 488-7268, or the World-Wide Web, Information on the role of alcohol in traffic deaths among children and youth is available from CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, telephone (770) 488-4652, World-Wide Web, ncipc/cmprfact.htm. Information on alcohol-related behaviors among youth is available from CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, telephone (770) 488-3168, World-Wide Web,


  1. Institute of Medicine. Fetal alcohol syndrome: diagnosis, epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1996.

  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 1996: children. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1997.

  3. CDC. Youth risk behavior surveillance -- United States, 1997. In: CDC surveillance summaries. MMWR 1998;47(no. SS-3).

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