Staff hadn’t no­ticed tod­dler had walked out from his nurs­ery

Woman found 19-month-old wan­der­ing nearby

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - Com

THE mother of a tod­dler who was able to es­cape a nurs­ery in East­cote has re­vealed he was only led to safety when a par­ent at a dif­fer­ent nurs­ery found him.

My Mum’s Away @ Cavendish, on Field End Road, is tem­po­rar­ily closed af­ter the 19-mon­thold boy wan­dered out of the build­ing on his own on Mon­day April 25.

Staff were said to be un­aware that the boy had es­caped, and he was spot­ted by a mother of a child who at­tends a neigh­bour­ing nurs­ery.

The woman who found the boy, who asked not to be named, said: “I just did what any­one else would do.

“My son at­tends the nurs­ery next door to My Mum’s Away, and I had dropped him in off in the morn­ing at about 9.05am and was there for 10 min­utes.

“As I left, I no­ticed around the side of the build­ing that there was this tiny lit­tle boy just wan­der­ing round to the front of the build­ing.

“I nat­u­rally just as­sumed that his par­ents were drop­ping him off and were out the front and he’d run off, but as I went around the build­ing there was ab­so­lutely no one there at all.

“Ob­vi­ously, that rang alarm bells – so I took him by the hand and said ‘we need to find your mummy’ and he just came with me really freely, which again was wor­ry­ing.”

The woman took the boy to the back of the nurs­ery, pass­ing the gated play area with locked doors.

She said: “The staff weren’t look­ing fran­tic or look­ing for him, they were just sit­ting down with the other chil­dren play­ing. It wasn’t as if he’d been no­ticed, they were just car­ry­ing on as nor­mal.

“I yelled across at them say­ing ‘ex­cuse me, are you miss­ing some­one?’ and a lady stood up and she was hor­ri­fied. She came out and she had to un­lock a gate to bring him in.

“It’s not on; any­one could have got hold of him. I was quite shaken and wor­ried they weren’t go­ing to do any­thing about it.

“Any­thing could have hap­pened to that child, he could have gone out on the road, as it’s a public area. There are all man­ner of peo­ple walk­ing up and down that road.”

The in­ci­dent left the woman shaken for the rest of the day, and she said she is still shaken when she thinks about it.

She added: “Ev­ery other par­ent I’ve spo­ken to is hor­ri­fied. It’s ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare.

“You pay and you trust peo­ple in nurs­eries to take care of your child. They could at least keep them safe. I’m just glad that I found him and he’s safe.

“He could have been out there for a cou­ple of min­utes. I don’t think it was much longer be­cause there were other peo­ple com­ing in from my nurs­ery but it was enough time where he could have been picked up and no one would have no­ticed.”

Of­sted has now launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and and says the sus­pen­sion, im­posed on Tues­day May 3, will be lifted “if we are sat­is­fied that chil­dren are no longer at risk”.

The mother of the tod­dler, who dropped her son off at 9.05am, who also asked to re­main anony­mous,anony­mous said she was told of the in­ci­dent two hours later by text.

She said: “When I got back home I was in shock and shaken and I still am when I think about it. I spoke to Of­sted and in­formed them.

“I asked for the woman’s (who found her son) num­ber so I could thank her and when I spoke to her a timeline started to ap­pear. She seemed shaken and said that he was head­ing to­wards Field End Road.”

The tod­dler’s mum said she had been told by the owner that he fol­lowed out a mem­ber of staff who was putting the nappy bins out who had not re­alised he was be­hind her and then locked the door again af­ter­wards.

The mum con­tin­ued: “I feel like I have a duty of care to other par­ents to make sure they’re aware of ex­actly what hap­pened.

“My son is very clingy af­ter this and there’s been a change in him.

“It’s put fear in me and he won’t be go­ing any­where now. I know that kids, if they see a door open, they’re go­ing to go for it. But if the pri­or­ity of the nurs­ery was the kids, it wouldn’t have hap­pened.”

The mother is too scared to put her son into an­other nurs­ery for the time be­ing.

She added: “If some­thing else was to hap­pen again in the fu­ture, it would break my heart that I didn’t let par­ents know.

“Your worst night­mare as a par­ent is your child com­ing to harm, but the fact is that he was wan­der­ing and we don’t know what hap­pened in that time, and that’s what’s baf­fling us.”

You pay and trust peo­ple in nurs­eries to take care of your child. They could at least keep

them safe”

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