Parenting Positive Kids

what would you have done?
January 23, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Should a child care worker ever hand over a baby to a drunk parent? A New Year's Eve fight broke out over that question when a "highly intoxicated" mother attempted to pick up her 2-month-old baby from a babysitter. She attacked two other people and was later arrested.

This was not just an argument, either. The mother hit one of the victims several times in the face, arms, and chest, and the second victim in the face. I don't know where the baby was during this fight, but I just hope he or she was a safe distance from this altercation and not in one of the victims' arms. I guess I'd have to hear more about the story to really say ... but maybe it was a good call not to let the baby go home with the mother?

I can imagine the mama-bear rage that would be unleashed if a sitter refused to hand over a baby. I'm sure the mother was outraged (and maybe a little embarrassed) to be told she was too drunk to take her baby. And then of course there's that lingering threat hanging over that accusation -- if you're too drunk to take your baby home, maybe you're a lousy mother. Maybe you're a total screw-up in life.

I don't know if the mother was driving, either. I would feel less nervous about sending a baby home with a drunk mother if I knew she at least had a safe way to get home. (I would still feel uneasy, though.) But if I knew she was getting behind the wheel of a car with that baby? No way. Better to suffer the mom's wrath than to let an accident happen.

People in that state can become irrational -- and dangerous. But what if the mother wasn't really that drunk? What if it was just a bad judgement call? I don't know that I'm completely comfortable with the idea of a sitter being in the position to make that call. I've come home to a sitter after parties or dinners where I did have something to drink. I don't like getting drunk in the first place, so I've never been in that position. But I think I'd get kind of defensive if I came home a little "happy" and was then accused of being unfit to stay with my baby. 

I guess when in doubt, the sitters should call the police. But what are you supposed to do while you wait for them to arrive? For all I know, that's what these two people did, and the fight broke out while they were waiting for the police to arrive and make the call. Still, you could look at it this way: These two people may have saved a baby's life.

Do you think a babysitter should refuse to hand over a child to their parent if they suspect the parent is drunk?



  • johnny4ever
    January 24, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    I certainly wouldn't hand them over...offer to call a cab!

  • SassyWildflower
    January 24, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Quoting johnny4ever:

    I certainly wouldn't hand them over...offer to call a cab!

  • SabrinaLC
    January 24, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    I guess it all depends.

    Years ago when I only had one child, I went out with some girls while my son was with my in laws.  His daddy was out of state for work.  I had a little bit to drink and was a  little tipsy, so when it was time to pick up my son my sober sister drove.  I wasn't trashed but I saw a bit of concern on my inlaws faces as I packed my son up to take him home.  It made me feel bad because I was perfectly capable of caring for my son and I was being responsible by having someone else drive. 

    Anyway... it depends on the situation I guess.

  • AzariahsMother
    January 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Yes, CPS/Police should have been called and I would have not handed the child over. 

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