Child pedestrians are defined for the purpose of this synthesis as a pedestrian under 12 years old (to minimise overlap with the Teenage Pedestrians category). However, it should be noted that some research defines children as aged 0-15 years old, and where this research has been used the relevant age range has been made clear.

In 2016, 3,624 children aged 0-11 years old were pedestrian casualties (RRCGB, DfT, 2017)

In 2011, 290 children aged 4 -11 years old were killed or seriously injured (KSI) on journeys made during term time and in the hours in which children may be expected to be making a journey to or from school. The transition between primary and secondary school is a significant factor in child pedestrian casualties as children often begin to walk to school unassisted and have to negotiate unfamiliar routes (age 12 is the peak for child pedestrian RTI involvement).

It is recognised that boys, older children and disabled children are more likely to be injured as a pedestrian than younger children (who are usually accompanied) and girls. However, social status has also been suggested as a predictor to pedestrian involvement in a RTI. A number of studies have correlated levels of deprivation with increased child casualties. Consequently it has been stated that children from poorer households are five times more likely to be a pedestrian casualty than children from richer households.

Reducing child pedestrian casualties can be tackled through a combination of the ‘Three Es’: Education, Engineering and Enforcement. The use of a range of interventions from each of the ‘Three Es’ is likely to both increase awareness of road safety issues amongst children and adults and reduce child pedestrian casualties.

Education encompasses a range of interventions that can be delivered by, for example, parents, teachers, youth clubs and road safety professionals. Research suggests that a mixture of theoretical sessions and on the roadside practical training can increase awareness and improve behaviour. The effectiveness of road safety education in terms of reduction in casualties, however, is difficult to confirm. This is due to the fact that interventions cannot be easily compared as they are often evaluated in different ways and it is normally a combination of factors that reduce casualties.

In terms of engineering, there is now good evidence that suggests that implementing traffic calming in an area can reduce child casualties. Modifications such as 20 mph zones can also have a dramatic effect on the number of child pedestrian KSIs. A number of schemes in the UK have shown a 70-75 per cent reduction in KSIs.

Enforcement interventions are limited to those which target dangerous drivers in the vicinity of schools. The presence of Police patrols after school on foot or on bicycles are a visible deterrent for those taking part in illegal activities such as speeding, drink/drug driving and those disobeying traffic signals. Police presence is also likely to encourage safer behaviour from the school children.


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:17 AM
  • Last Update: 11 Dec 2017, 04:15 PM