A FOURTH air ambulance will be on standby for the opening stages of the Tour de France to help critically ill children whose transfer to hospital may be affected by road closures.

The Children’s Air Ambulance will carry out urgent transfers with Embrace, a Yorkshire-based transport service for youngsters with life-threatening conditions, for three days from Friday, July 4.

The announcement follows the Yorkshire Air Ambulance revealing it will introduce the third helicopter to assist the two currently in operation on July 5 and 6 due to the huge increase in visitors and activity.

Embrace is a round-the-clock transport service for critically ill children who require care in another hospital in Yorkshire or further afield.

A spokesman said the Children’s Air Ambulance would be based in South Yorkshire for the Grand Depart weekend.

Dr Steve Hancock, lead consultant at Embrace, said: “When a baby or child needs critical care the speed at which they receive that care is vital.

“With the help of The Children’s Air Ambulance we can minimise the impact on these temporary travel issues and ensure resilience.”