Parents who are drunk while in charge of a kid could be arrested and even face a prison sentence.
Under the Licensing Act 1902, it is illegal to be drunk and in charge of a child in a public place.
It’s forbidden to drink on a highway, public place or any licensed premises while in charge of a youngster under the age of seven.
Offenders face a fine or up to a month in prison, according to the Mirror.
Solicitor Joy Merriam said there was no objective test to see how drunk a parent is, but the key issue is around safeguarding.
She told The Sun : “The threshold would be whether the child was compromised. If you’re having lunch with a couple of glasses of wine, you probably wouldn’t be considered drunk in charge of a child.
“If you’re obviously impaired, if it’s a young child who needs you to be alert and capable of safeguarding them, that would be the real test.”
She said parents of young children needed to be fully alert to protect them from physical harm such as running into a road or climbing on things.
The solicitor advocate added that parents may be arrested on suspicion of the offence in some situations but the case would likely be passed to social services and not the Crown Prosecution Service.
This means actual convictions are unlikely.
The law in question is specifically about being drunk in public in charge of your child.
But that does not mean it is okay to do it at home either.
If parents get so drunk at home they cannot look after their children they could be charged with neglect or have their kids taken off them.
A spokesperson for the NSPCC said: “Nobody is saying ‘don’t enjoy yourselves’, but just use common sense when looking after children.
“Drink in moderation and always make sure you are in control.”