London - It is the time of year when many parents are heading out to eat, drink and be merry.
But if you’re organising a babysitter to look after the little ones during a Christmas party, it may be sensible to book one for the next day, too.
One in 12 parents admit to being too hungover after a night out to properly look after their children, a study has found.
Experts say those who overindulge can end up "watching their child" the next day but struggling to really keep an eye on them.
The study, by the CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, found almost a quarter of parents fail to arrange childcare for the day after a night out – with many left feeling the strain and vowing to drink less next time.
Couples who rarely drink at special events are the least likely to make arrangements for their children, the poll of 1 170 parents found. That may be because they do not expect to over-indulge, with 24 percent not setting themselves any limits for how much they will drink or planning childcare for the next day.
The study authors said: "Most parents are good about taking their children under consideration when planning for the evening of a special event, which includes arranging for childcare and transportation. Somewhat fewer parents plan for the day following the event, when their parenting ability could be impaired by the after-effects of imbibing.
"Day-after planning includes thinking about how much alcohol is likely to be consumed, and whether that amount will lead to a hangover the next day."
The poll found 29 percent of parents knew someone who may have caused an unsafe situation for their child after drinking at a special occasion.
And eight percent admitted they had been too hungover to take care of their own parenting responsibilities.
That led 54 percent of these mothers and fathers to drink less on a later occasion – with the remaining 46 percent also learning their lesson and planning ahead for childcare.
The parents questioned had at least one child aged up to nine years.
The study concluded: "A parent who is technically at home 'watching their child' but passed out on the couch is unlikely to recognise the everyday risks of childhood, such as choking, falling, or getting into dangerous household products.
"This may be a situation where family, friends or neighbours step in to help."
Sarah Clark, of the University of Michigan, said: "Having children stay the night at a relative’s home or asking a grandparent to stay overnight are options to ensure children are in a safe and supervised environment."Daily Mail