Just a normal, stressful morning, getting your wee ones ready for the day ahead. Has Taynor remembered his lute? Does Duchy have her ballet shoes? Everything in order? Great, just enough time to drive them to the nursery, pass through the fingerprint scanner, and kiss them goodb-
Hang about, fingerprint scanner? Where's this nursery located, the American embassy? Nope, Dartford actually, where Springfield Lodge Day Nursery has taken the step of introducing scans to confirm the identity of parents picking up and dropping off their offspring.
The scanning device is fitted on an access door to the nursery, and from now on parents and staff must have their digit docked to get in or out. While most parents are satisfied that the scheme will both boost security and "allow quicker access to the nursery", charity Kidscape branded it as "paranoid and overkill". Said Director Michelle Elliiot:
"We don't want to give children the idea that the world is so dangerous that they can't even go to nursery school without being scanned."
And we have to agree that she has a point. High-profile abduction cases over the last decade have been molded by a febrile, pandemic-loving press into a climate of fear that is at odds with reality. The number of child abductions and murders in Britain remains low, yet the fear of such crimes is astronomically high.
Hence measures such as those unveiled at Springfield Lodge, which reassure parents yet reinforce from an early age the poisonous notion that the world outside is like Lord Byron: mad, bad and dangerous to know. Do we really want to be impressing this upon our kids from nursery onwards?