The RSA has noted an increase in child fatalities in 2023 compared to previous years.

Child road deaths numbers increasing

Close to 100 children were killed or seriously injured on Cork roads between 2014 and 2022.

The shocking figures were revealed in a Child Casualties Report recently published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The report revealed that 93 children aged 15 or under were killed or injured on roads across Cork city and county over the nine year period.

It also revealed that two in three child casualties in Cork were either a pedestrian or a cyclist and that the majority of fatalities occurred on urban roads.

Nationally, 56 children aged 15 or under were killed on Irish roads between 2014 and 2022, while 852 were seriously injured.

Two thirds of all child casualties in Ireland between 2014 and 2022 were injured on urban roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less. Dublin and Cork experienced the highest numbers of child casualties.

Speaking on the publication of the report, Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said the figures reveal concerning trends and that there has been a noted increase in child fatalities in 2023.

So far this year 139 people have been killed on Irish roads. This is an increase of 26 fatalities compared to the same date last year. The number of children aged 0-15 years killed on Irish roads in 2023 to date is 12 compared to 5 in all of 2022.

“Children are among our most vulnerable road users, and they are less able to protect themselves from traffic hazards,” said Mr Waide.

“That is why we must all exercise extra caution and responsibility when driving near places where children are likely to be present, such as schools, playgrounds and residential streets,” he added.

Mr Waide also pointed out that children cycling or walking in urban areas are at particularly high risk and said “it is vital that motorists slow down, observe carefully and share the roads safely with children”.

He said reducing speed, driving without being under the influence of drink or drugs, avoiding driver distraction, and using front and rear seatbelts (and child car seats/restraints where required), are vital measures for the road safety of children in Ireland. “We cannot afford to be complacent or careless when it comes to road safety. We all have a duty to make all our roads as safe as possible for everyone, especially for our children,” added Mr Waide.

The publication of the report coincided with Child Safety Day on 6 October, part of the RSA Safety Week which ran from 2-8 October. The day focused on educating parents and children on the importance of safe road use by all road users, especially drivers.

The RSA advised parents to make sure their children wear high-visibility material when out walking or cycling, and to make sure kids are wearing a helmet and have working bike lights when cycling.

Parents were also instructed to ensure the use of seatbelts or appropriate restraints when travelling by car or bus.

As part of Beep Beep Day in September, an initiative focused on engaging with creches and pre-schools to support children and their families, pre-schools ordered Beep Beep packs on the RSA website.

These were distributed on Child Safety Day, with over 40,000 high visibility vests sent to pre-schools nationwide, alongside age-appropriate road safety activities designed to support children for life-long road safety learning.