Among the age groups in which we can divide the population, the segment from 0 to 14 years old is the most vulnerable in a road accident. As we can see in this graphic from Fundación MAPFRE, the head is the part of the body that is most often injured in children up to the age of 14, above all if there is a fatality.
Injuries to limbs also occur frequently and, generally speaking, the early development of muscles in the neck and stomach put very young children in considerable danger in the event of a collision.&
In Spain, in 2016, 28 children died in traffic accidents (in the 0 to 14 year oldage range), according to the ‘Main road accident rate figures. Spain, 2016’ report, from the Department of Traffic. Another 385 were hospitalized with their injuries, while there were a recorded 6925 wounded but not hospitalized persons. The percentages are possibly more revealing, being respectively 2%, 4% and 5% of the total, taking into account all other age ranges.
Therefore, the death rate in this age range (up to 14 years) is at 0.4%, a long way from the 1.3% corresponding to the remaining age ranges. We can assert that children's road accident rates have improved significantly in the last decade, meaning that ‘Goal Zero’ is not only possible but also a true reflection of reality.
Children's road accident rates by age group
It should be noted that the age range encompassing 0 to 14 years old is a broad range to be studying as a single unit. Among children it is important to distinguish between the most vulnerable and weakest (from 0 to 4 years old), moving on to the following stage of development (from 5 to 9 years old), and finishing up by analyzing children between 10 and 14 years old. Each subsection shows very different figures which we will go on to take a look at.
As expected, the highest fatality rate is seen in the age range from 0 to 4 years old, as they have the weakest and most at risk constitutions. The death rate is 8 fatalities per million inhabitants.
By comparison, older age ranges (5 to 9 and 10 to 14) have a recorded 2 fatalities per million inhabitants. Having said that, the proportion of children hospitalized is far higher in the older age ranges, between 10 to 14 years old, with 78 children hospitalized with their injuries per million inhabitants. This is closely followed by the age range between 5 to 9 years old, with 53 per million, and coming in at the end, those between 0 and 4 years old with 32 hospitalized with injuries per million inhabitants .
Accidents involving fatalities mainly occur on intercity roads, but if we take a look at the number of persons injured, the highest number occurs on city roads (62% of those hospitalized with their injuries and 64% of those not hospitalized). The fundamental difference between both types of roads is that in the case of intercity roads, the fatalities and injured persons were passengers of the vehicles while on city roads a larger percentage of the children were pedestrians.
The main reasons for injuries and deaths in children under the age of 12 are the lack of a child restraint system or seat belt. This is one of the most important matters to improve in the short-term, given that many cases could be avoided if the children were to have the right protection as passengers in the cars.