Toddler Accidentally Served Alcohol

What Would You Do If Someone Accidentally Served Your Child Alcohol?

Mom Jeanine
September 12, 2011


Good Question, Health, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards, Safety

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Last week I read an article about a restaurant where a toddler was accidentally served alcohol. And given my paranoid tendencies, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Now I know you’re probably saying, “How can someone ‘accidentally’ serve a child alcohol?” But it’s not that outrageous. Apparently the mom ordered a virgin pina colada or strawberry daquiri for her little one, but somehow the bartender missed the memo and put alcohol in the drink. The waitress didn’t check the drink, mom didn’t take a precautionary sip and no one realized the drink had alcohol until it was too late. Scary, right?

I’m trying to put myself in the mother’s shoes. How do you react in a situation like this? On the one hand, you have to realize it was an honest mistake. I’m almost positive neither the bartender nor the waitress intended to serve the child alcohol. But at the same time, serving a toddler alcohol is no small offense. If the waitress knew the drink was for a child, shouldn’t she have double checked with the bartender to ensure it was “virgin.” While I would never want to jeopardize someone’s livelihood, I also think this merits way more than a slap on the wrist.

What about you? If your child was accidentally served alcohol, would you chalk it up to an honest mistake or take serious action against the restaurant? Share your opinion in the comments.

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  • Hannah
    September 12, 2011

  • I think I’d be mad, sure, but ultimately, there are heaps of countries where children drink more when younger than here. I think a ONE TIME incident isn’t the worst thing for the kid’s health. Kids are pretty resilient.

    But you know what *I* don’t get though? Those kiddy helmets. Is that a serious thing? Like, am I going to be encountering heaps of moms on the playground with their toddlers looking like Civil War vets? I would rather my kid down a hurricane by accident, than walk around looking like he just survived Kill Bill, 3.

  • Stephanie H
    September 12, 2011

  • I would be upset but more at myself for not double checking my child’s drink as I normally do. Since the kids drinks are usually in kid’s cups, a bartender would be extremly neglectful to put an alcoholic drink into it. At that point, I would find the bartender legally responsible and to be investigated.

    If I had financial expenses, it would be covered under the company who served my child. I would not sue for millions, but I would expect them to take care of my child’s medical needs if any was inflicted. I would also expect them to readvise their training and procedures to ensure this is to not happen to another family.

  • Head Ant
    September 13, 2011

  • Actually the above story is old. The incident that happened last week concerned samples of a slushie drink that were passed out. When parents were told by the server that they DID NOT contain alcohol, they gave some of the samples to their children, including a four year old. The samples, however, DID contain alcohol. The server was subsequently fired.

  • Gwendolyn
    September 13, 2011

  • If it went into a kid’s cup, then the person was a complete moron for putting booze in there.

  • Skyler Mann
    September 13, 2011

  • Honest mistake, depending on what kind of cup the child’s drink was in. Stephanie makes a good point on this. If it’s in a kiddie cup, then there’s no excuse. If it was in a regular daquiri glass or whatever, then I’d chalk it up to an honest mistake. I worked as a waitress in a restaurant with a very busy bar section for awhile, and there’s no reason to check the drink ourselves. In fact, if the waitress took a sip, she’d probably get fired if the floor manager noticed.

    Hate to say it, but the blame is on the mom in this one. She really should have checked the drink!

  • S.Dale
    September 13, 2011

  • You don’t order “virgin” drinks for your child at a restaurant. They can have juice, milk or water or if older, soda. Why chance that a bartender knows the drink is being served to a child. Did the mom order herself an alcoholic drink?

  • MLR
    September 13, 2011

  • Like S. Dale, I don’t think a mother should order a virgin drink for her child, and especially not her toddler. It sets a precedent that drinking alcohol is fun and at that age, is that a message we want to put into their heads? Life is full of choices, and there were plenty of great alternative choices that mom could have made to have avoided that situation entirely.
    I hadn’t heard of that particular story, but I heard about the Applebee’s one. I just went back and checked the details of the Applebee’s one, and in that one the mom had ordered apple juice with the kid’s meal for her son. Applebee’s claims that someone labeled the tequila as apple juice, which caused the mix-up. The police said that if the boy had finished his drink he would have died – as it was, by the time he got to the hospital his blood alcohol level was still .10.
    To say it doesn’t hurt kids to ingest alcohol is madness – we have no idea what affect it has on each of their systems, especially in this time of adult-onset diseases seen in children; my belief is that most moms wouldn’t make the choice to order a virgin drink for their toddler. I hope I’m right.

  • able mabel
    September 13, 2011

  • The mom is the one who should take responsibility here. If she is going to order up that type of drink for her kid, then she should be making sure it doesn’t have alcohol in it. I’m certain the waitress and bartender made an honest mistake. Why does someone else always have to “pay” when we do something stupid like ordering a drink for our kid? In my opinion, that is what is wrong with society nowadays. A simple “sorry” in a situation like this isn’t good enough anymore. There always has to be money or jail time involved.