Did you know that approximately nine out of every 1,000 babies in Canada are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
The B.C. government would like to see that number go down. That's why every year in September, the government of B.C. proclaims Sept. 9 as FASD Prevention and Support Day.
B.C. and jurisdictions around the world mark the day to help raise awareness about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Bells are rung on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month to symbolize the nine months of pregnancy. Public awareness events such as information fairs, walks, open houses, and picnics are taking place in many B.C. communities.
A public education and prevention campaign is already underway in B.C. Every September, the BC Liquor Distribution Branch features FASD awareness materials in all 197 BC Liquor Stores throughout the province. Awareness materials are also widely distributed to parent support agencies and other health and women's organizations.
FASD has a broad social impact, with many individuals requiring lifelong support to cope. Health, social, educational and justice systems are involved, with the cost to Canada estimated at $5.3 billion per year.
FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of harms caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. These may include lifelong physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities. The effects are life-long. There is great variability in the characteristics of those affected depending on such factors as the amount and timing of exposure to alcohol.
Promoting healthy practices during pregnancy through public education and awareness is part of B.C.'s 10-year Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategic Plan (2008-2018). The plan is reflected in the Families First Agenda for B.C.
The Families First Agenda provides information about how government supports families throughout the province. It describes a range of established programs and some new ideas to help make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe. To read the agenda, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit: www.FamiliesFirstBC.ca
How to Get Involved:
Wondering how to get involved?
- Attend a local community FASD information event.
- Help organize or volunteer at a local community event.\
- Display posters and other promotional materials throughout your community. To order posters and other promotional materials, visit: www.bcliquorstores.com/alcohol-pregnancy
- Send out a FASD quiz to your contacts. For the B.C. FASD Awareness Day quiz, visit: www.bestchance.gov.bc.ca/tools-and-resources/interactive-tools/interactive-tools.html
- Promote non-alcoholic options by making mocktails. For recipes, see: www.beststart.org/resources/alc_reduction/LCBO_mocktail_Eng_LR.pdf
- Set up a display in local libraries or an information booth in malls.
- Connect with local restaurants and bars to invite their participation in recognizing the day by providing free non-alcoholic drinks for patrons who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
- Write an article or letter to the editor for your local newspaper.
- Co-ordinate FASD day activities with local schools.
- Have a poster contest to get kids involved in the issue.
- Submit an article for the school newsletter.
- Invite your local public health nurse or FASD worker to give a presentation.
- Host a FASD informational coffee break at 9:09 a.m.
- Ring bells on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month.
Ministry of Children and Family Development
250 213-7724 (cell)