It only took a sip for Aaliyah Smith’s parents to know their daughter wasn’t drinking apple juice.
As WXIA News reports, the Smith family decided to go out to lunch after their Sunday church service. Mom Alexis Smith thought “everything was normal” as the family enjoyed their meal at a restaurant in Vinings, Georgia.Screeshot/WXIA News
But when the meal was over, Alexis’s husband decided to take of sip of the apple juice they’d ordered for 18-month-old Aaliyah. Immediately, he knew something was very wrong.
Alexis told WXIA:
“We were about to leave, my spouse got the juice, it was in the kid’s cup, he tasted it and his chest started burning.”
Alexis had the same burning sensation when she tried the toddler’s juice. After talking to the restaurant staff, her fears were confirmed — their daughter had been served alcohol, not apple juice.
The toddler only had a few sips, but it was obvious to Alexis that the alcohol had affected the little girl. She told WXIA that her daughter was unsteady and “not her usual self” after consuming it:
“She was a little off balance.”
Though Aaliyah only drank about three tablespoons of alcohol, WXIA estimates that — taking her weight into account — the toddler would have had a blood alcohol level of 0.065. According to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s the rough equivalent of three drinks and close to the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.
The restaurant manager explained to a weeping Alexis that the mistake occurred because a bartender had mislabeled the apple juice bottle. The manager comped the family’s meal, and the restaurant is reportedly reviewing procedures for proper labeling.
However, Alexis said she’s disappointed that the restaurant owner has yet to contact her about the incident:
“I started crying at the restaurant. As a mom, it was very emotional alcohol is something serious. You have to be 21 as an adult to drink it.”
The family took Aaliyah to the doctor, who confirmed that the alcohol’s effects had worn off. Though Aaliyah didn’t suffer any lasting harm, Alexis was tortured by the “what ifs” of her daughter’s narrow escape.
Initially, the server had suggested pouring the juice directly into the toddler’s sippy cup. Choosing not to do so saved their daughter from spending the whole day with a cup full of alcohol. Had they put the juice in the sippy cup, they might not have noticed the mistake:
“She would have been sipping on alcohol all day and possibly died.”
The worried mom told WXIA she’s thankful that her daughter drank so little of the juice — and that they discovered the mistake before it could cause permanent harm:
“I’m just lucky that my daughter did not consume the whole cup because she probably would not be here now.”