A TODDLER was seriously injured by a caterpillar fairground ride at the South of England Show.

The boy, 3, was airlifted to hospital after the incident in Ardingly at 5pm yesterday.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched an investigation.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: "We responded to a report of a child suffering an injury on a ride at South of England show.

The Argus: An air ambulance landed on a nearby field

"A three-year-old boy suffered a serious injury requiring hospital treatment. He is now in a stable condition.

"Enquiries into the incident are ongoing."

Witnesses said the boy's injuries were caused by the caterpillar train. Sussex Police confirmed the incident involved the ride.

The Argus: Witnesses said the child was injured by the caterpillar train

An air ambulance landed on a nearby field to take the child to hospital.

The South of England Show took place over the weekend.

The show focuses on agriculture, country pursuits and connecting people with the countryside and its industries.

An HSE spokesman said: “We are investigating an incident, which took place at the South of England Show on Sunday 13 June.

"We cannot comment further at this time.”

A spokeswoman for the South of England Agricultural Society said, “We are saddened to learn that there was an incident that happened to one of our visitors yesterday involving the fairground at the show. 

"This was treated very seriously, and an investigation was immediately launched led by Sussex Police and the Health & Safety Executive to gather full information.

“Our professional medical and emergency service providers and the police, who were all already on-site, were on the scene within minutes and the individual received swift treatment. 

"As our protocol dictates, the medical providers immediately called 999 to ensure the individual received the fastest possible access to further emergency care.

“We were later informed that the visitor’s injuries are believed to be superficial and that they are being kept in hospital for the time being for observation. 

"They are expected to make a full recovery.

“Our thoughts and feelings are with the family, and we wish for a speedy recovery.”

The South East Coast Ambulance Service was contacted for comment.