New reports on child safety

A new report on children's independendent mobility and revised guidance on the importance of local speed limits for child safety.


New study shows decreased independence for children.

Primary school children have far less independent mobility now than they did in the past according to a new study.

Far more English children were accompanied by an adult on the journey home from school in 2010 than in 1971, while more children were also accompanied on journeys to other destinations.

The freedom to go out and about in their local neighbourhood is important for children’s health and wellbeing, physical activity and development, but this freedom can be limited by fears about traffic and road safety, as well as other community safety and environmental concerns.

The study, which is published by the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) and involved three universities, found that a key focus of policy should be addressing the dominance of traffic in both urban and rural settings, and in improving levels of pedestrian safety so that parents can feel more confident in letting their children out alone.

Children’s Independent Mobility in England and Germany, 1971 – 2010, is available on the PSI website:

Local speed limits needed for child safety

Reviewing and setting local speed limits are vital in achieving greater safety for pedestrians, including those who are more vulnerable such as children.

Following a consultation in 2012, the Department for Transport (DfT) has published revised guidance aimed mainly at local traffic authorities who are responsible for setting speed limits on local roads. The new circular has been designed to help explain why and how local speed limits are determined. Traffic authorities are asked to keep their speed limits under review with changing circumstances, and to consider the introduction of more 20 miles an hour limits and zones.

Setting local speeds: Department for Transport Circular 01/2013 (Jan 2013) can be downloaded from the site:

A new Speed Limit Appraisal Tool has also been published to support local implementation and to help councils assess the costs and benefits of any local speed limit schemes, including casualty reduction and quality of life considerations.

The tool is available on the site:

Updated February 2013