A mum sparked panic after leaving her toddler son alone on a bus.
The mother, who was travelling with two young children, got off the bus at Niddrie Mains Road yesterday, leaving behind her son, who is thought to be two or three years old. The young boy became distraught soon after realising his mother had left him.
Passengers comforted him as a female social worker informed the driver of the situation. After the driver radioed his control room for instructions, the social worker got off the bus and led him back to his grateful mother.
It’s understood the toddler was sitting on a single seat near the front of the bus.
It’s not known whether his mother forgot to collect him or whether she thought the youngster was following her.
The bus had driven off before the toddler was discovered.
The social worker walked the child back towards the previous stop and found his mother, who had since become aware of the mistake.
One passenger said: “A lady on the bus claimed to be a social worker and she told the driver that she would reunite the child with its mother. The driver then radioed his control room and asked if it was OK for this person to do this.
“The child was howling and a couple of young lads asked if he was OK, which raised the alarm.”
Soon after the child’s distress became known, the driver pulled the bus over and allowed the female social worker to disembark with the child. She then walked the toddler back to his mother who had since become aware of her mistake.
A spokesman for Lothian Buses said: “Everyone did the right thing in what was a very difficult situation and we are pleased that this child has since been reunited with his mother.”
It is not known whether social services intend to take any further action over yesterday’s incident.
Social workers tend to treat such matters on a case by case basis.
Child neglicence charges are technically possible. Only last week a two-year-old was taken into care in London after being left on a bus by his foster carer.
But it’s understood at this stage neither the police or social services are involved.
Parenting expert and author Judy Reith said it would be unfair to “demonise” the mother.
She said: “Even with the best will in the world these things will happen. A good friend of mine once left her daughter in her pram outside a shop and returned home.
“Parents are human beings and mistakes will happen.”
A senior social services source said: “This is a very unfortunate incident and sounds like it could have been a lot worse. If we were asked to look at it. Did she simply forget? Is there a history of problems? These are all the sorts of questions we’d probably ask a mum.”
Councillor Maureen Child, the city’s social care leader, called it “a nightmare for any parent”.
She said: “I remember years ago losing my two-year-old momentarily in a museum and the panic was awful.”
JUST CALL HIM FORGETFUL DAVE
THE mother is in illustrious company – in June last year, it was revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha had left their eight-year old daughter at a pub.
According to reports, Nancy had gone to the toilet while the family were arranging lifts. Both assumed the little girl was with the other in a different vehicle and it was not until both cars arrived home that they realised their daughter was not with them. The child spent 15 minutes with pub staff before being picked up by Mrs Cameron.
A two-year old was left on a bus in London by her foster carer last week. The child, who was found safe, was removed from the woman’s care.