Police are hunting a man who slapped a four-year-old girl across the face and shook a pram with a baby inside.
The suspect was pushing the tot, believed to be aged around one, in a buggy while with the young girl when the horror unfolded.
He struck the four-year-old across the face causing her to burst into tears.
The man continued shouting at her while “erratically” shaking the pram while in the car park of Teesside Retail Park.
He then got into his car with the children and left the scene.
Police are now hunting the suspect following the attack.
They said the man has been described as Asian, around 5ft 7ins tall and aged around 50.
A spokesperson said: “The incident happened around 12:15pm on Tuesday 27th December, the day after Boxing Day, as a man pushed a pram across the car park using the pathway from the O2 shop towards the centre of the car park.
“The man is reported to have struck the older child across the face with his hand, resulting in her crying and he then continued to shout at the child and is then reported to have shaken the pram erratically.
“Officers are appealing for any footage or witnesses to come forward by calling 101, and quoting reference number 233257.”