A mum has been left furious after her autistic son escaped from his nursery and was found running down a busy road by workmen.
Rachael Heslop, 28, was in shock when she watched the CCTV footage of her four-year-old son, Charlie, running down a main road after he got out of the 2nd Home Childcare centre in the Tyne and Wear town of Gateshead.
Rachael said the nursery called her on Tuesday after the incident happened and told her her son had gotten away from teachers while playing in the yard, and was found near the car park, reports ChronicleLive.
But when she told her husband what had happened, her mother-in-law said there was talk that a boy had escaped onto the main road. There were also comments on social media about the incident.
When the couple took to social media to appeal for witnesses, they 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 was left in tears and suffered a panic attack after watching what had happened.
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She added: “Now whilst this is all bad enough, this is where it gets worse.
“After finding out how far he’d actually gotten we were told that at the time of the call at 11.45am, they didn’t have all the information yet as the priority was letting us know.
“Charlie got onto the road at 10:33am – an hour and 12 minutes before they called and they supposedly didn’t have all of the information.”
Rachael said her son was able to escape because the children were playing 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.
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“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.”
Rachael claimed she had been lied to and given false statements since the incident and questioned if the nursery would have handled the situation in the same way if Charlie could speak.
She added: “I’m guessing not. Most children would go home and tell their parents what had happened whereas they knew Charlie can’t do that and it’s a fact that they’ve blatantly taken advantage of.
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“Letting anyone care for your child takes trust, but when they are autistic and cannot talk it’s blind faith. And that blind faith has been entirely abused.
“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 gotten 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."
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