Child road deaths and injuries fall


Some 36 per cent fewer children were killed and injured in crashes in the period 2004-2008 when compared with the late 1990s, according to a new study,

The study was carried out by Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, with the Road Safety Authority of Ireland.

Researchers looked at road-related injuries in under-15 year olds between 1996-2000 and 2004-2008, including all road and traffic crashes on public roads involving Garda assistance. They found a 36 per cent decrease in the total number of children injured or killed on Irish roads, from 5,928 to 3,659.

The most significant decrease was in the cycling injuries category. Child cyclist fatalities fell by 76 per cent and there was a 68 per cent reduction in cyclist injuries.

Car passenger deaths among children fell by 38 per cent from 69 to 44. Most children were travelling in the rear passenger seat. In both time periods studied, the use of appropriate child restraints such as seatbelts was less than 70 per cent and researchers noted the prevalence of children travelling in front seats.

Child pedestrian injuries accounted for 34 per cent of injuries in the 2004-2008 period. Some 1,071 children, or 88 per cent, suffered minor injuries while 32 of the injuries were fatal. When the two time periods were compared, child pedestrian deaths had fallen by 48 per cent and serious injuries had decreased by half.

Prof Alf Nicholson, consultant paediatrician at Temple Street, said the findings were hugely positive. “There is no doubt that policy changes and concerted publicity campaigns in the intervening period have had a significant impact,” he said. “It is vital that this safety message continues, however, with an emphasis on use of bicycle helmets and proper child restraints.”