Key Points:

A 16-month-old boy is in care after being found alone in a Kaikoura front yard early today.

The distressed toddler was found in the yard a business address on Beach Road by members of the public about 2.45am, Inspector Michael Coulter of southern police communications said.

Police were called and he was taken for the check up to the Kaikoura medical centre where he was found to be in good health.

Shortly after 4am police were contacted by the boy's distressed mother, who was visiting Kaikoura from the North Island.

Mr Coulter said the woman admitted leaving the child unattended in a house for about four hours while she went out socialising.

During this time the boy woke up and wandered out of the property.

He was to remain in care until the matter has been fully investigated, Mr Coulter .