An investigation has revealed almost 500 men and women were collared by police over the past five years after drinking themselves into a stupor in public while caring for children aged ten and under.
Mums, dads and other guardians have been prosecuted for neglecting children while drunk at home.
In some cases the youngsters had to be taken into protective custody. Others were handed over to social workers.
Under the law, police can arrest an adult who is “clearly” unable to provide a reasonable level of care due to drinking.
Experts described the figures as concerning and warned they were the tip of the iceberg.
Dr Peter Rice, chairman of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, said: “There has been a shift from people drinking in pubs to people drinking cheap supermarket alcohol at home.
“As a result, far more of these incidents could be happening behind closed doors.”