Children's road accident rates are slowly returning to the downward trend registered in the last few years in Spain.Although in 2016 and 2017 the infant mortality rate on the roads increased, we are now once again back to a downward path, and today we will be presenting data referring to 2018.
Nevertheless, the figures are still too high. The death of a single child in a road accident is one too many and prevents us from reaching Goal Zero Victims.
Looking back, we can observe the progression of child road accident rates since 1990 and bear witness to the fact that we are on our way to achieving our goal but are still some way off.
In terms of the changes made to infrastructure, there were hardly any highways a few decades ago (the majority did not exist or were incomplete) and we traveled from place to place on the national roads, which are, generally speaking, more dangerous than modern highways.
There have also been enormous technological advances in active and passive safety systems, ranging from the tires themselves to highly advanced systems such as automatic emergency braking.
If we also take into account the advances in child car seats (from their materials to the new approval standards) and, of course, greater social awareness of the importance of using seat belts and Child Restraint Systems, we can see why there has been a significant reduction in road accident rates in the last 30 years.
The fact that car seat belts were compulsory for every car seat from 1990 onwards is something that will undoubtedly help us understand the progression of children's road accident rates in the last few years. From then on, and thanks to child car seat awareness campaigns, accident rates gradually decreased to the 2018 figures: 25 deaths and a total of 356 children (including fatalities and injured persons) under 14 years old.
However, this is still not good enough. One single death on the roads is too many, it is a tragedy, and we should all work together to achieve Goal Zero: zero victims on the roads and zero child victims.
In 2018 25 children under 15 years old died as a result of road accidents, 10 fewer fatalities than in 2017. 14 children died on intercity roads and 11 on city roads. Of these 25 fatalities, 13 were passengers, 11 were pedestrians and one was riding a bike. In all, 331 children were hospitalized as a result of road accidents, which was 4% lower than in 2017.
Out of the total number of children hospitalized for these reasons, 64% were involved in an incident on city roads and 55% were pedestrians. With regard to the use of child restraint systems among children under 12 years old who were traveling in passenger cars and vans, 8 out of the 85 children hospitalized with their injuries were not using a child restraint system or a seat belt, and nor were 25 of the 3308 children who were injured without requiring hospital treatment.