The message is being delivered across Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland to coincide with National Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day (Wednesday, September 9).
Venues such as pharmacies, children’s centres, sexual health centres and libraries will be targeted by the South Tees Maternal Infant and Child Health Partnership.
The local partnership is made up of key stakeholders, including both Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland Councils, set up to give children the best start in life.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are a series of preventable birth defects, both mental and physical, that can be caused by a woman drinking alcohol at any time during her pregnancy.
These defects of the brain and the body exist only because of prenatal exposure to alcohol and it’s a leading cause of non-genetic learning disability in the UK.
Local alcohol retailers are being asked to support the campaign by highlighting the potential dangers of drinking during pregnancy using a targeted poster, sticker and bag campaign. The hashtag #049 has also been created (no alcohol for nine months during pregnancy).
Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “Although it’s still underdiagnosed, statistics show that approximately 1% of all babies born may have some form of FASD, meaning around one baby is born each day in the North East with FASD.
“FASD has a higher incidence rate than autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida and sudden infant death syndrome combined. It is 100% preventable – which is why we need to advise parents of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
“Alcohol continues to have a huge impact on children and young people and we need to do everything we can to protect them – right through from preconception to adulthood.”