Poorer children at higher risk of road injury

Children living in poor areas are more likely to be road accident victims than those living in richer neighbourhoods, research suggested today.

Youngsters in Preston are more than twice as likely to be injured on the road than the national average, and five times more likely than those in Kensington and Chelsea, the study found.

According to research group Road Safety Analysis, children most at risk are those from families "on lower incomes who often live in large council estates".

The work used postcodes to compare risk levels among children aged up to 15 across 408 local authority areas.

Based on five years and covering more than 120,000 road casualties, it showed over their first 16 years of life, one in 27 children will be reported as injured or killed in a collision.

Preston was the most dangerous area for child road accidents, with one child in every 206 being injured in a crash. Close behind was Liverpool, at 234, and Barrow Borough in the north West with 238.

On the contrary, the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea was the safest area, with an accident rate of one child in 1158.

Wealthy Richmond Upon Thames was in second place, at one in 1,038, with the Shetland Islands in third at 1,024.

The national average was 427.

Dan Campsall, director of Road Safety Analysis, said: "The results of this study show a worrying discrepancy between different parts of the country.

"Children in some areas experience considerably higher risk from road traffic crashes than others who might be living just over the border."

Other findings included road safety danger being at its highest on a Friday, followed by Saturday. Sunday was the safest day.

May was also found to be the month with the highest number of recorded child casualties, with around 25 per cent more injuries reported than in the winter months.

Locations with highest risk of child road accident:

1. Preston City, Lancs - one in 206

2. Liverpool City - one in 234

3. Barrow Borough, Cumbria - one in 238

4. Blackpool, Lancs - one in 251

5. Wyre Borough, Lancs - one in 254

Locations with lowest risk of child road accident:

1. Kensington and Chelsea, London - one in 1,158

2. Richmond-upon-Thames, London - one in 1,038

3. Shetland Islands - one in 1,024

4. Camden, London - one in 914

5. Westminster, London - one in 892