1109 GMT October 31, 2020
Gemma Trainor said the phone call to say her son Cain had been lost on his first day at the Little Owls playgroup was the "worst moment of my life."
In the 40 agonizing minutes he was missing, Cain somehow negotiated a tricky 1.5-mile route to find his way home.
But despite suffering every parent's worst nightmare, Gemma says she still wants him to attend Little Owls after being reassured by its response to the drama and the tighter procedures it plans to put in place.
Gemma, of Ainsdale Way, Saltersgill, said the horrifying phone call she received as she drove home on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 3 began "a few minutes of total panic." She raced to the playgroup, which is on the same grounds as Newham Bridge Primary School on Cayton Drive, Acklam, where Cain had spent the afternoon in the nursery, to find distraught staff in tears.
Incredibly, the youngster had walked home alone, following a route he barely knew and oblivious to the panic behind him.
Gemma, who works for Cleveland Housing Advice Center, said: "I had no reception on my phone but when I got outside, I saw the school and Little Owls had been trying to call me several times.
"They started the conversation with something like 'I don't want to worry you but we seem to have lost Cain.'
"I felt sick — there aren't words to describe that feeling of something terrible happening which is totally out of your control.
"I rushed to the school and when I got there, they were all in tears.
"The headteacher came running over, saying they didn't know what had happened. Then within seconds, I got a phone call from my next door neighbor saying Cain had arrived home. I burst into tears with relief."