Tuesday 19 November 2019

More than a third of all child deaths happen on the road

A garda checkpoint.
A garda checkpoint.
36% of all child deaths happen on the road, the RSA conference focused on Child safety

Bob Flavin

The number of children killed on Irish road accidents almost tripled last year, figures show.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said collisions are the leading cause of child mortality in Ireland, accounting for 36pc of child deaths over five years.

Figures show 14 children under the age of 15 lost their lives in 2014. Seven were passengers, seven were pedestrians.

The child safety theme of an RSA conference was particularly relevant as schools have gone on mid-term break.

Liz O’Donnell, RSA Chairperson, said children are our most vulnerable road users, but warned they cannot be responsible for their own safety when using the road.

"They simply do not have the cognitive skills to be able to recognise danger," she said.

"That’s why it’s up to us as adults to do the right thing and protect them. Parents must treat their children like precious cargo when they are carrying them as passengers in cars, and ensure they are properly restrained.

"They are incredibly vulnerable to injury because of their size and age. There is no room whatsoever for complacency or exceptions – no matter how short the trip.”

The biggest danger any child faces in Ireland comes from the road.

Data also shows 262 children were killed and 1,115 seriously injured from 1997 to 2012. The stark figures remain high despite a drop in overall child fatalities by 89pc and serious injuries by 75pc.

Just under a half of all children who die on our roads do so while walking, two out of five are killed as passengers in cars. With one in ten not wearing any seat belt.

Over six years (2006 to 2011) 36.7pc of all child deaths – 81 – were road deaths, according to Professor Alf Nicholson.

The Consultant Paediatrician at Temple Street Hospital shared an overview of child deaths and causes in Ireland, specifically focusing on child deaths on the roads.


A series of videos have been released by the RSA on child road safety:

The conference, which was attended by over 200 delegates, featured speakers from Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the event is an important step in changing the very worrying upward trend in child injuries and deaths on our roads.

"Children are our most vulnerable road users, and it is up to all of us to safeguard them on our roads," he said.

"This conference provides an important platform to share international best practice on protecting children as passengers, pedestrians and cyclists on our roads. But more than that, the findings from today’s conference will inform policy and decision making at Government level’.


A series of videos have been released by the RSA on child road safety:

Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, told delegates it is great to see first-hand road safety measures from all over the world being shared.

"It is also great to see the work being done here at home to encourage children to be safe and smart road users, and to educate drivers about sharing the roads with our most vulnerable road users," she said.

"Events like these where we share best practice with our international counterparts keep us all safer on the roads and enables us to work towards our goal of making Irish roads the safest in the world for children.”


A series of videos have been released by the RSA on child road safety:

Online Editors

Also in Life