A 16-month-old St. Paul girl was taken into protective custody Wednesday night when hospital emergency room workers found alcohol in her system.
According to St. Paul police, the 19-year-old mother brought the child into Children's Hospital because she had bumped her head. Emergency room workers noticed that the toddler was unsteady on her feet. Medical tests showed alcohol was present.
Police spokesman Peter Panos said initial police reports didn't specify how much alcohol was in the toddler's system.
Investigators are waiting for Ramsey County child protection services to complete their investigation, he said.
Privacy laws prevent child protection and hospital workers from providing details regarding this case. "We can't confirm or deny whether we are investigating this,'' said Janine Moore, Ramsey County's division director for Children and Family Services.
Cases involving intoxicated children are rare, she said. Moore, who has worked in child protection services in Ramsey and Hennepin counties for 25 years, said, "I can count on two hands how often this has happened.''
It wouldn't take much alcohol to intoxicate a 16-month-old, Moore said. "The key ... is to find out how the child got the alcohol,'' she said.
Child protection workers have 45 days to complete an investigation, Moore said. The information will be forwarded to the police.
MARY LYNN SMITH