Drunk and swigging from a can of Special Brew, Lorraine Taylor staggered down Herne Bay High Street with a toddler in tow.
Such was the sight of the 46-year-old recovering heroin addict that she quickly came to the attention of a police community support officer who approached her – and then let her on her way.
But Canterbury magistrates heard his concern grew when he watched her at a pelican crossing, unable to work out which lights meant it was safe to cross.
Taylor, of Claremont Street, Herne Bay, was eventually arrested and at court she admitted being drunk in charge of a child.
Prosecutor Julie Farbrace said it was 4pm on July 23 when Taylor was first spotted with the child, a girl aged two or three.
"When the officer went up to her, she was carrying a tub of ice cream and a can of Special Brew," Miss Farbrace said.
"She was drinking from the can as she was talking to him and said she was looking after the child while her mother was having a rest. She was slurring and was difficult to understand.
"When asked, she said she had drunk three cans of Special Brew and denied being drunk."
The officer decided to let Taylor go. He watched her walk down the road, holding the child by the hand a foot behind her.
Taylor then arrived at a pelican crossing in the High Street.
"She had problems with the crossing and could not work out whether she was going to cross the road or not and was having trouble with the lights..." - Julie Farbrace, prosecuting
Miss Farbrace went on: "She had problems with the crossing and could not work out whether she was going to cross the road or not and was having trouble with the lights."
Taylor was later found sitting on a footpath. She told an officer she was an alcoholic and was taking the heroin substitute methadone.
Debbie Pizzey, defending, said Taylor was having difficulties with her drinking.
"But she was not paralytic on this day and the officer says he was uncertain about her level of intoxication," Miss Pizzey told the court.
"She also says there was simply hesitation on her part at the lights. She wanted to be sure it was safe to cross the road."
Magistrates gave Taylor a 20-day prison sentence, suspended for six months. She must also pay an £80 victim surcharge.