This study set out to provide a description of the children involved in fatal accidents and to ascertain which deaths might have been prevented and by what means. The records from a convenience sample of four coroners (jurisdictions of Inner North London, Birmingham, Bedfordshire, and Ipswich) of inquests opened in 1984-8 on children aged under 15 killed in accidents were reviewed for information on the deceased, the accident, and the injuries sustained. Altogether 225 records (150 boys, 75 girls) were examined. Accidents to pedestrians were the commonest cause of death (81 cases), and road safety engineering measures were the most likely means by which most fatalities might have been prevented. The records frequently omitted information on social circumstances, family structure, ethnic group, or the use of safety equipment. Cooperative coroners can contribute to child safety as their records are rich in information about accidents. This could be made available to parties interested in accident prevention, including community paediatricians.
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