In the second year of the corona pandemic, the number of children involved in road traffic accidents has again reached an all-time low. As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), around 22,300 children under the age of 15 were injured in road traffic accidents in 2021, which was 0.8% less than in the previous year and less than at any time since German unification. On average, however, a child was still injured or killed in a traffic accident every 24 minutes in 2021. In addition, the number of children killed rose from 48 to 49 in the previous year.

One reason for the low is likely to be the temporary closure of schools and many leisure facilities, and many extracurricular activities and family trips have also been canceled. Visibly fewer children were involved in accidents in January and February than in the same months of previous years. For comparison: In January and February 2021, a total of 1429 children were injured in a traffic accident. On average in previous years (2016-2020) there were more than twice as many children (3200) in the same period.

Children between the ages of six and 15 are particularly likely to have accidents between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday to Friday. This is the usual time when children are on their way to school. In the following hours until 1 p.m. the number of accidents is very low. They then rise again significantly, reaching a new high between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Most of the children who had road accidents in 2021 were on bicycles. About a third were in a car and less than a quarter were walking when the accident happened.

However, if you look at different age groups, a more differentiated picture emerges: under-six-year-olds are often in the car with adults caring for them, which means they have the most accidents here (56% in 2021). As school children get older, they are more independent on the road – the proportion of cyclists and pedestrians among those involved in accidents increases accordingly.

Overall, however, children have a lower risk of accidents than other age groups in relation to their share of the population. The share of under 15 year olds in all road traffic accidents was 6.9%, their share of the population was 13.8%. In 2021, an average of 194 children per 100,000 inhabitants of their age group were involved in road accidents nationwide.

However, there were also large regional differences. In Schleswig-Holstein, for example, children were involved in traffic accidents relatively frequently: 271 children died in accidents for every 100,000 children. The rates were also comparatively high in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (262) and in Brandenburg (256). The values ​​were lowest in Baden-Württemberg with 158, in Rhineland-Palatinate with 162 and in Hesse with 163 casualties per 100,000 children.

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