Road accidents make up around 1 in 15 of all deaths of children aged 5 to 14. They also cause serious injuries.

Thanks to concerted efforts by government and local organisations, these numbers have been falling steadily. You can play your part in reducing the numbers still further by advising parents or practising road safety with the children you look after.

Remember that drivers have a really important part to play – speed is literally a matter of life and death for children in road accidents. So if you drive yourself, or work with parents who drive, there’s a lot you can do to keep children safer on the roads.

We recommend CAPT’s colourful picture booklet It’s fun to go out but…, which highlights the most common dangers with simple language and illustrations.  How safe is your child in the car? has more detail about the types of restraint for children in the car.  You can view samples and buy in bulk in the online shop.

How many children are killed or injured on the roads?

  • In 2011, 60 children and young people under 16 died on the UK’s roads.
  • 2,412 under 16s were seriously injured – with injuries including skull fractures and brain damage.
  • Child pedestrians are at the greatest risk – in 2011, they made up more than half of the children killed in road accidents and two-thirds of those seriously injured.
  • Research shows that the poorest children, whose parents have never worked or are long-term unemployed, are at a greater risk too. They are 20 times more likely to be killed as pedestrians than children from the most affluent homes. That’s because they tend to live near more dangerous roads, have fewer places to play, and make fewer car journeys.

How can these accidents be prevented?

Parents need guidance on how to keep their children safe. CAPT’s resources are tailored to different child development stages. Our fact sheet for parents breaks advice into:

  • Babies
  • Toddlers
  • 3-5
  • 5-7
  • 7-11

We also have parent-friendly leaflets that give more general advice for each of these different age brackets. You can view the age-targeted resources in the online shop.
There are lots of things you can do to minimise risk, including:

  • Getting the right equipment to make sure children travel safely. For example:
  • Children under 12 / under 135 cm tall should be in a proper child restraint every time they travel in the car.
  • When a child starts to ride a bike, teach them to wear a cycle helmet, and help them to adjust and fasten it correctly.

Keeping young children out of danger near busy roads:

  • Toddlers and young children have a tendency to wriggle, squirm, and run off. It’s natural – they just want to explore! Keeping a tight hold of their hand or using reins while you’re out walking by the road will keep them out of harm’s way.

Starting to teach children good safety habits and practise road safety together:  

  • Understanding a child’s stages of development helps when teaching them good safety habits. Simple, practical lessons learned from an early age can strengthen their understanding. Remember that children copy what adults do, so set a good example.

If you’re a childminder, why not visit our Mind The Road website which is full of practical advice and activities on child road safety.

More information

CAPT’s range of leaflets and booklets will support you in your work with parents and carers by underlining the key safety messages. The leaflets are written with different stages of child development in mind, and are a key support tool when teaching parents about child accident prevention.

Online shop
It’s fun to go out but...

For more detailed advice on child road safety, we recommend that you:

We also have a range of quizzes and activities to support you in your work with parents and carers.

This resource is a support tool for practitioners, and is not meant to provide stand-alone safety advice. You can find more detailed advice on preventing accidents in the parents section of the website. If you would like teaching aids for workshops, you can purchase some of our colourful, engaging safety resources in the online shop.

There are other important aspects of accident prevention, such as legislation and the physical, social and financial environment that children and families live in. Find out more about the role of practitioners in preventing childhood injuries and deaths from accidents.

Download this page as a printable factsheet