The law

  • You cannot give alcohol to your children's friends under 21 years of age under any circumstances, even in your own home, even with their parents' permission.
  • You cannot knowingly allow a person under 21 years of age to remain in your home or on your property while they are consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages.

If you break the law

  • You can face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or $1,000 fine.
  • Others can sue you if you give alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age and they, in turn, hurt someone or damage property.
  • Friends, neighbors, and acquaintances will call you an irresponsible parent, or worse.

Prevention is the key

  • Talk to your children about alcohol and the law.
  • Lock up all your alcohol, including beer, just as you would lock your car in a parking lot.
  • Be at home when your children have parties. Do not provide alcohol or allow drinking.
  • Call the police if you know of underage persons purchasing or consuming alcohol.


  • Parents' attitudes and behavior about alcohol influence the attitudes and behaviors of their children.
  • Twice as many teens and young adults die each year in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents than died each year in combat during the Vietnam conflict.
  • Do not offer your teen a beer or other alcohol on his or her birthday.


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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 10/20/2016...#9434