A three-year-old suffered horrific wounds when a cyclist ran him over in the street.

Little Haden Tunnicliffe needed 26 stitches after splitting his head open on a kerb in central Brighton this week.

His terrified mother, who had to hold his skull together while paramedics raced to the scene, is calling for cyclists to take greater care in busy city areas.

Gemma Tunnicliffe, 22, was pushing her two-year-old son Alfie in a buggy in Western Road at about 12.25pm on Wednesday, with Haden walking alongside.

As they crossed Spring Street she realised a cyclist was hurtling towards them and pulled back. Haden lost his grip on the buggy and stopped in the cyclist’s path.

The bike ran over his body and threw him face-first against the kerb.

Gemma said: “We had to hold his head together.

“There was blood everywhere, all over the street.

“It was terrifying.”

Haden needed a two-hour operation at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

He was given 26 stitches in a six-inch gash running down his forehead.

The accident left him with tyre-marks on his neck and back.

Doctors allowed him home on Thursday night but he needs a second minor operation next week.

His skull is not expected to heal completely for six months and Gemma has been warned he will be scarred.

Gemma, of Thorndean Road, in Brighton’s Bates Estate, said said: “I want to raise awareness among parents that cars are not the only thing you have got to be careful of.

“I would say to any cyclist, look at Haden and take a little more care, even when the street seems empty.”

She thanked passers-by and staff in nearby Superdrug who came to her aid, and praised staff at the Royal Alex for the way they handled her son’s care.

Sussex Police confirmed they were called but no action has been taken against the cyclist.