A TINY five-year-old girl came within inches of being crushed by a car amid familar traffic-chaos on a school run in Hucknall.
Fears have been rife that a child would be killed unless parents and drivers changed their ways and brought an end to the school-run mayhem.
But for Hucknall parent Clare Hardstaff, the worst nightmare almost became a reality when her daughter, Mia-Mai, cheated potential life-threatening injuries outside Hillside Primary School on Roberts Lane.
The youngster was on the pavement outside the school when a car, which had been hemmed in by countless parked vehicles, reversed and mounted the kerb.
Thankfully Clare (28), of Salterford Road, Hucknall, reacted quickly to pull her daughter to safety and stop her from being flattened as the unaware driver pulled away.
“I am just thankful that Mia-Mai is safe,” said Clare. “I dread to think what could have happened.
“What is it going to take before parents realise that they are putting children’s lives at risk? Will it take a child to be killed before they get out of their cars and walk a few extra yards to take their children to school?”
Clare is engaged to Mark Hardstaff (47). The couple have a second daughter, Bethany (eight), who goes to Hillside, while Mark has a 16-year-old daughter, Shay, from a previous relationship.
“Mark was furious,” said Clare, who originally hails from Liverpool but has lived in Hucknall since the age of four.
“It was all a bit of a blur. But if I hadn’t pulled her away, she could have been seriously hurt.”
The Dispatch has repeatedly publicised the problems caused by inconsiderate drivers at schools throughout Hucknall.
Local councillors have campaigned for action and appealed for drivers to be more thoughtful.
Schools are constantly pleading with parents not to park too close to schools and to be conscious of children.
But the message seems to be falling on deaf ears.
The head teacher of Hillside Primary, Dot Stenson, has campaigned for extra parking-restrictions, complete with single yellow lines, near her school.
After Mia-Mai’s close shave, she printed another appeal in the school’s newsletter.
A parent has come up with a hard-hitting poster for the school’s website, asking ‘Would You Like To Lose A Child?’ and calling on parents to park safely.
A large banner has also been commissioned for the school gate ,with the slogan ‘Show You Care, Park Elsewhere’.
Mrs Stenson said: “It’s disappointing. We’ve earned our credibility in the community and we have a lovely name. The only thing that spoils it for us is parents’ inconsiderate parking.
“Unfortunately, it brings us into disrepute with the community because when residents or teachers speak to some parents about their parking, they are subjected to abuse.
“It is not the majority. But we have some parents who arrive in their cars 50 minutes before the end of school just to get a parking space.
“I’m running out of ideas. The problem happens at other schools and there is no one-off strategy. It is a slow nag.”
Responsibility for parking-enforcement outside schools lies with Notts County Council, which runs a team of parking wardens.
The deputy leader of Ashfield District Council, Coun John Wilmott (Lab), said: “New legislation needs to be brought in on parking outside schools to make sure children are safe.
“It is no exaggeration to say that if this little girl, or any other, had been hit by a car, they could have been killed. The schools do the best they can. It gets through to some people but we have really got to educate parents into doing the right thing.”