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THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2007
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North Alabama mom accused of letting infant, 1, drink beer

RUSSELLVILLE (AP) — A North Alabama woman has been accused of allowing her infant son to drink beer from a can as she watched.

Franklin County Sheriff Larry Plott said Stephanie Ann Helton, 21, of Phil Campbell, was charged with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

"Things we see in this job never ceases to amaze," Plott said.

Investigators said authorities were called to a home Saturday morning to make a welfare check on three children — ages 8, 7 and 1 — and found all the adults under the influence of alcohol. One of the older children told authorities the infant had been allowed to drink beer, deputies said.

The sheriff said Wednesday that he doesn't believe Helton has been appointed a lawyer yet. Attempts to reach her were not immediately successful.

Dr. Karen Landers, area health officer, said alcohol consumption in children could cause serious health risks.

"Children don't process alcohol the way adults do," Landers said. "A very small amount could cause alcohol poisoning for a child. It's a very serious situation; it could even be fatal."

Officials said all three children were placed either in foster homes or with other family members.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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