Drunk Kids At Chain Restaurants: An Epidemic?

OK, so this toddler walks into a bar ...Stop me if you've heard this one -- and you probably have. We have an epidemic ladies and gentlemen. For the third time in a two-week period, a young child has been served a drink at a chain restaurant that included booze.

The first time it happened at Applebee's. A child was served a margarita in a kid's cup and started acting drunk and fuzzy. He was taken to the hospital where he was found to have a blood alcohol level of .10, which is higher than the legal limit for an adult to drive!

The second time was at Olive Garden with kid's cup of Sangria. The child was acting funny, but before the parents could complain, the cup was whisked away by apologetic restaurant staff.

One time was a mistake, two times was annoying, but three times? It's an epidemic.


A 4-year-old at a Chili's in Chicago was served a mudslide instead of the chocolate shake she ordered.

Now, we have two options to believe:

  1. There is a horrific epidemic of irresponsible chain restaurants who need to hire smarter employees or get better organized or lose their liquor licenses.
  2. The parents are somehow lying.

Am I the only one who is feeling slightly suspicious here? I mean, I had never heard a story like this before and then all of a sudden there are THREE? Now it could just be a slow news cycle, which leads to more reporting. Or it could be that these incidents were never reported before and one sparked the other two.

But there is something very, very wrong going on here, either with the restaurants -- all of which are wealthy, highly sue-able chains -- or with the parents. Maybe as a parent I want to believe the parents are lying here. The alternative is too horrible.

My children get restaurant kiddie cups all the time and it has never once occurred to me to take a sip first. After all, I usually have my own drink. Do I have to start now? Is this my only choice?

Whatever is going on, it's a problem. I will be curious to see where all of this leads.

Do you check your kid's sippy cups at restaurants?


Image via ramsey everydaypants/Flickr

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