Tipsy Toddler: Restaurant Mistakenly Serves Alcohol to Child

Mother noticed after toddler acted strangely, saying hello to Applebee's wall.

April 11, 2011— -- It was toward the end of their meal at an Applebee's restaurant in Detroit when Taylor Dill-Reese noticed something odd about her son, D.J.

The 15-month-old boy was acting strangely, his mother said. "He was saying hi and bye to the walls," she said. "He eventually laid his head down on the table and we thought maybe he was just sleepy."

Maybe so, but the toddler was also drunk. He had been served alcohol mixed in with his apple juice.

Police said it was an accident; a mislabeled bottle at the bar was poured into a cup for the child. Applebee's said it's looking into the matter.

"Obviously, any situation like this is unacceptable," Applebee's said in a written statement. "We are working with local authorities and conducting our own investigation to assess exactly what happened."

Applebee's has been in this situation before. In 2006, a New York City Applebee's admitted accidentally serving a 5-year-old a Long Island iced tea alcoholic drink instead of apple juice.

"Within minutes, his eyes were glazed," the child's mother, Cynthia Pereles, said. "It was clear he was under the influence."

In 2007, a California restaurant served a margarita to a toddler in a covered, plastic sippy cup. Again, the patrons had ordered apple juice.

In Detroit, after realizing what had happened, Dill-Reese said her son was taken to the hospital. The toddler was found to have a 0.1 blood alcohol level, well above the legal limit for an adult to drive.

His mother said the child is now fine but Dill-Reese, who is 18 and too young to drink legally in Michigan, doesn't understand how something like this could have happen.

"Nobody at the table ordered alcoholic drinks; we can't, so he definitely shouldn't have received one," Dill-Reese said.