16 month old Sophie Watkinson needed medical treatment and Daniel Martin, 1, was treated for chemical burns to his throat and mouth.
Waiters at Toby Carvery, without knowingly, used an unmarked jug which had chemical used to clean pipes with, to fill up the children’s cups.
Daniel took a gulp and started choking, which was when the mistake was realised. When his shocked parents, Claire, 37 and Phil, 35 sipped the drink, they found it smelled and tasted of bleach.
The couple, along with Daniel and his sister Rebekah, 4, were out for a meal at Toby Carvery with friends Diane and Stuart Watkinson and their daughter Sophie.
Claire said, “Daniel began to cough – we were encouraging him to sip more ‘water’, which was obviously just making it worse.
“At the same time Stuart and myself took the lids off the children’s cups. I put it to my mouth and it smelt like bleach.
“The barmaid came over and said: ‘I’m really sorry, we’ve used the pipe fluid.’ I didn’t believe her at first. The manager called for an ambulance and gave us a bottle of the cleaner to show the doctors. They told us if the fluid had been neat, it would be strong enough to dissolve tissue in the body.”
Stuart, Sophie’s dad said: “To know my child had drunk such a dangerous substance through no fault of her own made me furious. A moment’s carelessness could have devastated our lives.”
Toby Carvery, the restaurant chain, owned by group Mitchells & Butlers, said that staff had been retrained on cleaning practices, following the incident in May. Because the incident has been made more publically, Toby Carvery could see a loss of customers, an increase on their cheap restaurant insurance and could even face the threat of closure if business slows down.
A spokeswoman from Toby Carvery said, “We can confirm Toby Carvery has admitted liability and are in correspondence with Mr and Mrs Martin’s solicitors. The safety and well-being of our customers is our primary concern. Following the incident in May, all our staff team have been retrained on cleaning practices.”