Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day

Thursday, Sept. 9 is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day (FASD). It’s a day to raise awareness about FASD to improve prevention, diagnosis and support for individuals with this disorder.

At 9:09 a.m., one minute of silence was observed in every time zone in communities around the world. The time represents the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month as human gestation is typically nine months. 

Alcohol is a leading cause of death, disease, and disability across the globe and in Canada. It is important to note that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can seriously harm an unborn baby. The birth defects and developmental disabilities that result from FASD are preventable by avoiding alcohol during pregnancy.

According to the federal government, it is estimated that in Canada more than 3,000 babies a year are born with FASD and about 300,000 people are currently living with it. It’s a lifelong disability and those who struggle with it and their families deserve support. 

Nurses play an important role in helping prevent FASD and supporting those living with FASD. That’s why RNAO called on the province in 2019 to choose evidence-informed alcohol policy to improve the health of all Canadians. 

In 2012, RNAO members unanimously passed a resolution to advocate for an integrated FASD provincial strategy to address prevention, early diagnosis, evidence-based interventions and supports for individuals and families. In addition, ongoing professional education to enhance capacity of front-line service providers. As a result, RNAO, in collaboration with other organizations, has raised awareness about FASD through a symposium, Globe and Mail and RNJ article, and a Toronto Star letter to the editor.

RNAO continues to advocate on ways to prevent FASD and improve the health and daily lives of children and adults with FASD and their families. 

Learn more about FASD online. Share your messages of support by using the #FASDDay.  

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