Toddler burns his hand on a metal sculpture that heated up in the sun


A toddler faces the prospect of plastic surgery after burning his hand on a piece of public art.

Vittorio Mochi, who is 23 months old, put his palm on the metal sculpture and suffered a serious burn because it had got so hot in the scorching sunshine.

The crying youngster was rushed to hospital by his mother Virginia where he was given morphine as his badly blistered skin was surgically removed.

In the week since he has had to return to hospital twice to have his dressings changed and undergone a preliminary examination from a plastic surgeon.

The accident happened in Portishead, North Somerset where the large metal sculpture forms part of a public art trail around the fashionable marina development.

Children often climb on the artwork, which looks like play equipment, and on her website the artist even encourages families to interact with the work.

But Virginia, 42, from Thornbury, Glos said warnings should be put up that the sculpture can become hot.

She said: “We always walk around Portishead Marina, it is a very popular spot for families.

“Children are always attracted to new things and we walked near to the large metal structure.

“Vittorio put his hands on it in the same way you would with a wall and all of a sudden he started to cry.

“I looked at his hand and it had already blistered, the skin had come off and it was very, very nasty.

“There is no warning, nothing that says the surface may be hot.

“Young children like to explore and the sculpture looks like it is part of a children’s playground as it sits on the same tarmac. I have seen children playing there.

“The pictures on the artist’s website even show children and families playing in and around the structure. I think it is very dangerous.”

She added: “It’s very hard because Vittorio is so young and those are the parts of the hands you use to explore at that stage. This has been a very bad experience.

“At home I am always very sharp with my children around hot surfaces, but this is something that was unforeseen and I worry for other families.”

North Somerset Council said that the artwork was not owned by them, and was under the ownership of developer Persimmon Homes.

The steel sculpture, called Viaggio, is the work of artist Louise Plant and was installed in 2009 as part of a public art programme.

The sculpture is designed to reflect the colour of the town’s old roofs and changes colour in response to the weather.


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