A driver in China has left a toddler in a critical condition following a row with her mother over a parking space.

The man in his 40s, identified only by his surname Han, snatched the two-year-old girl from her pram and threw her to the ground after her mother refused to make way for him to park his car.

He wanted to park by a bus stop in Beijing, but the woman would not move as she was checking on her daughter.

A street stall owner told the Beijing Times that Han got out of his Hyundai Sonata and hit the woman before picking the toddler out of her pram, holding her up in the air and dropping her "forcefully" to the ground.

"The baby made no noises after being dropped, not even a cry of pain," AFP quoted the witness.

He added that another man also got out of the car and hit the mother before they drove away.

The toddler was rushed to a nearby hospital in a critical condition. Earlier reports suggested she had died, but a hospital source said she was still alive though on a life support machine.

Police arrested Han and he remains in police custody. He had previously been jailed for theft. He is likely to be charged with serious assault, or murder if the baby dies.