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The exposure of young children to accident risk as pedestrians.
  1. D. A. Routledge,
  2. R. Repetto-Wright,
  3. C. I. Howarth
  1. Psychology Department, University of Nottingham, England.


    Pedestrian road accidents show a marked peak for children aged 5, 6 and 7 years with boys twice as involved as girls at these ages. Howarth et al (1974) described a framework in which measures of exposure were defined and related to the accident statistics to obtain estimates of absolute levels of risk for different categories of pedestrian in different traffic situations. The present paper describes a survey of children's exposure carried out to provide suitable data for this quantitative analysis. We interviewed a representative sample of Nottingham schoolchildren about their journeys in the previous 24 hours and recorded the number of roads crossed and the traffic densities of these roads. The measures of exposure obtained are presented in relation to the accompaniment of children on their journeys, the type of area in which they live, and time of day. Risk was assessed by relating exposure measures both to the national and local accident statistics. The analysis provides estimates of the risk to children of different ages and sex in their normal pattern of road crossing and in crossing roads of different traffic density and indicates that the accident statistics alone considerably underestimate the degree of risk to children under the age of eight. Interviews with a sample of the parents of the children suggest that children may provide a more accurate measure of their exposure than do their parents.

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