The number of children killed or injured on London's roads has dropped by almost a quarter in the past 10 years.

Encouraging figures, released yesterday, have been attributed to the introduction of road safety measures such as speed cameras, 20mph limits and sleeping policemen. Total figures for all people killed or injured on the capital's roads have also dropped, by 9 per cent over the past five years.

The London Research Centre says 5,368 children aged under 16 were killed or injured in accidents in 1993, compared to 7,077 in 1983. Of last year's children's total, 0.4 per cent (21 children) were killed , 15.6 per cent were seriously injured and 84 per cent were slightly injured.

The 21 fatalities account for 7.3 per cent of all deaths in Greater London in 1993 and the child pedestrians killed (16) account for 9.4 per cent of the total number of pedestrians of all ages killed.

They add to a gradual decrease in child fatalities on the roads which has seen the rate drop from more than 7,500 in 1980. There were, however, increases between 1987 and 1990.

The centre said the figures were welcome because while Britain had a good overall safety record compared with many European countries, it has a poor child casualty record.

During 1993, 37 per cent of child casualties occurred in the inner London boroughs and 63 per cent were on roads in the outer boroughs.

Those most at risk are pedestrians. More than 2,700 of them were either killed or injured last year - more than half of the total number of child casualties. Vehicle occupants made up the next highest figure but public service vehicle passengers were statistically the safest: only 112 were casualties during 1993. The City of London saw the lowest number of child casualties (four), with Kensington and Chelsea running second with 80.

Newham ranks as the worst, with 272 cases. In 1988, 42,237 accidents resulted in 50,189 casualties, but in 1993 there were 38,429 accidents and 45,801 casualties.

John Devenport, head of the London accident analysis unit at the centre, said people should be pleased at the drop in the figures.

He said new road safety measures had contributed greatly to the reduction in the figures. 'In west London, where cameras have been installed on trunk roads, we have seen a significant drop in the accident rate.

'In other areas, road-calming measures like speed humps and 20mph zones have also worked well. Bearing in mind the increase in traffic it's amazing there's a drop at all. Figures have been falling steadily since the early Eighties.'