A shocked mum is furious with her autistic son’s nursery after he escaped and ran into traffic on a busy road until two workmen in a van came to his rescue.
In what sounds like every parent’s nightmare, Rachel Heslop, 28, watched CCTV of her son, Charlie, on his own in a main road after he had got out of 2nd Home Childcare centre in Gateshead.
She claims she was initially told by the nursery that Charlie had got away from teachers while playing outside and was found by the car park.
But Rachel said that after making enquiries, the situation was a lot more serious.
When her mother-in-law went to the school gates to collect Charlie she heard talk that a boy had been on the main road and there were social media posts about it.
Rachel and her husband Ryan appealed for witnesses on social media and discovered footage of two workmen travelling in a truck when Charlie darted out of the children’s centre gate.
Rachael said: “Once their van stopped and they realised Charlie was without an adult, one of them jumped out of the van and ran to stop Charlie as he continued to run along the middle of the road towards oncoming traffic on Harlow Green Lane.
“Once he’s stopped Charlie, he’s started to walk him back along to the nursery which is when two of the children’s centre staff came out as they’d seen Charlie run out the gate.
“They then took him back to nursery staff without exchanging conversation with the guys to find out what happened, or say thank you.”
Rachael said she was in tears at finding out what happened and that the response from the nursery made it even worse.
She said: “After finding out how far he’d actually got we were told that at the time of the call at 11.45 am, they didn’t have all the information yet as the priority was letting us know.
“Charlie got onto the road at 10:33 am, one hour and 12 minutes before they called us and they supposedly didn’t have all of the information.”
Rachael said her son was in an unsecured yard rather than the garden which is secured with fences and gates with locks.
She added: “Why they were playing there I’ll never understand, because even with adult supervision and protocols in place there is still open access from there to the road.
“The building the nursery is operated from is owned by Gateshead Council, so why they think it’s safe to rent to a childcare provider without installing a perimeter fence and gate is honestly beyond me.
“In my mind they’re just as much to blame for Charlie getting into the road. A member of staff broke the ‘strict protocols’ and that led to Charlie getting away from them and running into the road.”
Rachel added: “We were so lucky. I honestly think if it wasn’t for the guys running after Charlie, which subsequently meant Charlie changed direction to run away, that Charlie probably would have got to the end of the road and would have been hit by a passing car.”
A spokeswoman for the nursery said: “We are carrying out an investigation and are unable to make further comment at the moment.”
A spokeswoman for Gateshead Council said Second Home Childcare at Chowdene leases space in Chowdene Children’s Centre.
She said: “The nursery are also able to use the outdoor trim trail facilities, which enhances the offer available for the children in their care, although they are only able to do this on the understanding that the children are strictly supervised.
“Ofsted have been informed about this incident and will undertake an investigation.”
A spokeswoman for Ofsted said: “We don’t confirm or comment on complaints, but any that we receive are assessed and action taken where necessary.”