Toddler found on highway, mum found drunk

A HERVEY Bay mum who was drunk when her toddler was almost struck by traffic when she left the child at home alone has been sentenced to community service.

The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge of leaving a child under 12 alone for an unreasonable amount of time without making provision for supervision and care of the child, when she appeared before Maryborough Magistrates Court.

The court heard she was living in Labrador when the incident happened.


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Police prosecutor Senior Constable Donna Sperling said Milton's son was three years old at the time.

She said the mother had failed to make any reasonable arrangements for the care of the child when he was left by himself for at least 45 minutes.

Snr Const Sperling said the child found his way out of the second storey unit and then walked into oncoming traffic on the Gold Coast Hway.

She said cars were seen swerving to avoid the child.

"The child was calling out to his mother," Snr Const Sperling said.

A woman from a neighbouring unit saw the child and ran to get him off the road.

She then called the police to let them know she had found the child wandering on the highway.

It took police 30 minutes to arrive at the woman's home and a further 15 minutes for the mother to return back to the units.

"She was heavily intoxicated and agreed she was in no state to care for her child," Snr Const Sperling said.

Defence lawyer Mark Riddell appeared on behalf of the Hervey Bay mother.

He said she had been involved with various organisations since the night of the incident and they had helped her formulate a safety plan to prevent any similar incidents.

Mr Riddell said Milton had been assisted by a child safety officer and she was no longer under investigation by child services.

He said his client had a difficult upbringing, being emotionally and physically abused by her stepfather.

Mr Riddell said the mother had been diagnosed with bipolar and borderline personality disorder.

He said his client had used marijuana and ice in the past and had been the victim of several violent relationships.

Mr Riddell said on the night the incident happened, his client had been assisting someone with their washing and the child had been asleep when she left.

He said she relocated from the Gold Coast and was now living in Hervey Bay.

"She's very embarrassed and upset with herself for allowing this to occur."

Magistrate John Smith said he was sure the mother appreciated how serious the charge was.

"The child could have been run over or abducted," Mr Smith said.

He said there could have been a fire or someone could have broken in.

"All of those things need to be considered by you," Mr Smith said. "The child could have been taken from you."

Mr Smith sentenced her  to 100 hours of unpaid community service.