Shocked drivers had to swerve to avoid them as they saw Darren Power staggering on the carriageway in the middle of the afternoon. When he stumbled the tot was thrown from the buggy and suffered injuries to his face and head.
Power (41) of Aster Gardens, Motherwell, avoided a jail sentence at Hamilton Sheriff Court after he admitted a charge of child neglect.
The incident on Airbles Road was described by Sheriff Daniel Kelly as “horrendous”, but he imposed supervision and unpaid community work as a direct alternative to custody.
The road is a busy dual carriageway and the court heard Power managed to negotiate the pram across one section to the central reservation.
He wasn’t so lucky after that as he slipped and the buggy toppled over, throwing the child to the ground. Fortunately, an ambulance happened to be passing and medical attention was administered quickly.
Power admitted pushing the buggy across the road when he was under the influence of alcohol and when it was unsafe to do so on May 8 this year.
A second charge alleging that he shouted, swore and made threats was dropped by the prosecution.
His solicitor, Tom Watters,told the court Power had been on medication for mental health difficulties, but had stopped taking it and this, combined with his intake of alcohol, had affected him.
Mr Watters said: “He was walking from his home on one side of Airbles Road to an address on the other side, but he knows he shouldn’t have done it in this condition. The consequences could have been far more serious.
“This was a very unfortunate situation which I don’t think will ever be repeated.
“He has a very supportive family, members of which are in court with him today.
“The social work report says he is suitable for a community payback order and he would certainly comply with whatever community-based disposal the court thinks is appropriate. He would welcome any support available.”
Sheriff Daniel Kelly told Power: “Clearly this was a horrendous experience for the child who was only 14 months old at the time. Thankfully his injuries were minor - abrasions to his cheek and forehead - and fortunately an ambulance was passing so assistance was available.
“Having read the social work report, I consider that I can deal with this by way of a community payback order.”
The sheriff said there must be “an element of punishment to mark the severity of the incident” and ordered Power to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work within six months.
Power will also be under the supervision of social workers for one year.