Child road injuries peak in July

Research from RAC Foundation confirms that more children die on the roads in the longer summer days than in winter. The month with the biggest number of child road casualties in Britain is July, according to research based on a five-year average from 2010-14.

227 under-15s were killed or seriously injured during this period, from a total of 1,733 casualties in that age group.

There are fewer injuries in the winter. The lowest monthly averages were recorded in December, when 122 children were killed or hurt out of 1,103 casualties.

Being out and about

These findings contradict a popular assumption that the dark, wet, months result in more injuries.

The RAC Foundation concludes that the better weather and longer days mean that more children are playing outside with their friends or walking and cycling to school, which  means a greater exposure to risk. The study found that 40% of the casualties were pedestrians and that 13% are cyclists.

The peak hour for child road casualties is the time directly after school (between 3pm and 4pm), but many children were also hurt in the following couple of hours. The school run also accounts for the 8am – 9am spike in the morning.

Areas with higher injury rates

Blackpool, Hyndburn, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, north-east Lincolnshire, East Lindsey, Boston, Ceredigion, Preston and Liverpool were among the regions with highest child casualties, according to the RAC research.

Action to reduce the injuries

The RAC report echoes findings from Public Health England (PHE, 2014) which led PHE to recommend three priorities for local authorities and their partners to reduce unintentional injuries on the roads for children and young people:

  1. Improve safety for children travelling to and from school
  2. Introduce 20mph limits in priority areas as part of a safe system approach to road
  3. Co-ordinate action to prevent traffic injury and improve health.


PHE with RoSPA has also produced a briefing to support schools to promote safe active travel (2016) to help implementation of the guidance.

This resource is primarily for staff working in education settings, but is also relevant for school nursing and road safety staff. It includes:

  • a snapshot of road safety data relevant to schools 
  • an overview of resources to support road safety education across key stages 1-4 
  • examples of practice in schools to promote safe active travel 
  • a list of support materials.

More information

  1. RAC Foundation (2016) Child Road Safety in Great Britain, 2010-14
  2. RAC Foundation (2016) Child Road Safety Casualties – Local Authority Tables
  3. Public Health England (2014) Reducing Unintentional Injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 years plus report showing data for local areas and slide set with data that informed the report
  4. Public Health England (2016) Road Injury Prevention – Resources to support schools to promote safe active travel
Updated June 2016