Two-year-old found wandering in Cromer

A two-year-old girl escaped from a Norfolk nursery and was found in the middle of a road by a shocked driver who had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting her.

A two-year-old girl escaped from a Norfolk nursery and was found in the middle of a road by a shocked driver who had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting her.

The youngster was rescued from the road by the woman who then took her back to the Norfolk County Council-run nursery at Cromer's Sure Start children's centre.

The incident happened at midday on Friday as mums and dads were preparing to pick up their children. Last night, parents spoke of their shock at the incident - and their relief that it did not have a tragic conclusion.

Coral Banning, 24, from Cromer, who has a three-year-old girl, Leah, at the nursery, said: “It's concerning to hear and you wouldn't expect it. I'll still be taking her there. I've not heard any bad things about the place before.”

Another mum, who asked not to be named, has one son at the nursery and a daughter who will attend when she is old enough.

She said: “I've every confidence in them. They're hot on security, it won't stop me taking her there.”

Most Read

A Cromer mother-of-two said: “I think it's disgusting. I wanted my little one to go, but I don't know now. It's scared me a bit. The doors are locked - I don't know how that happened.”

Ian Money, headteacher at Suffield Park Infants, which manages the nursery at the Sure Start centre, said: “I would like to apologise to the parents of the child and assure them that a full investigation is underway into what happened. I would also like to thank the member of the public who found the child.”

He added: “Security at our children's centre has been praised in the past and we are committed to ensuring that all children are safe at all times.

“We always make sure the appropriate number of staff is working and are vigilant about the arrangements to collect children. We will now be urgently reviewing our security and ensuring it's strengthened even further.”

It is understood the little girl was found on Mill Road, just opposite Kristopher's, by a woman who was driving a black 4x4.

The woman stopped and went into Kristopher's and the nearby Londis store to ask if staff knew the child. She then called the police and took the child to the nursery.

Susan Walsh, 51, who runs Kristopher's, said: “The little girl shot out in front of a car. The driver brought her in here. The little girl had told this woman 'mum, shop', so because we are the first shop, she came here. How she didn't get knocked over I don't know.”

Christine Brett, 49, was in Kristopher's when the woman came in with the girl.

She said: “She could've been killed. The state that poor woman was in when she came in. Her heart was in her mouth. The child must have just wandered out and walked. She was convinced her mummy was in the shop. If that had been a bus, she would have been killed. She could have been taken by anybody. The nursery should have missed her.”

Dr Vivienne Lennox, chairman of the school governors, said: “Everyone at the school is devastated by the news that a child managed to leave the nursery building. We would all like to offer our sincere apologies to the family.

“Whilst we await the outcome of the investigation we've taken a number of measures to even further enhance the security and are having a full review of security at the centre by the county council's health and safety officer.”

The centre was officially opened in March 2006, at the same time as a similar facility at Mundesley.

Sure Start children's centres have a host of services under one roof, including health visitors, midwives, advice on debt management, relationships, behaviour, parenting and child development.

Kate Gooding, the council's children's services spokesman, said similar incidents were “extremely rare”.

She said: “All childcare settings are subject to unannounced inspections from Ofsted which include a thorough review of health and safety. The arrangements for health and safety are robust in our schools and nurseries and we will offer advice and support where necessary.”