Around 1,200 kids from across Wales will take to the streets around their school on Wednesday 16 June to raise awareness of the 13 children who are killed or injured on the region's roads every week.
The children, aged between 4 and 11, are among more than 50,000 across the UK who are taking part in Brake's Kids Walk with Shaun the Sheep. The national project, run by road safety charity Brake in partnership with insurance company esure, sees Shaun and his flock help youngsters learn key road safety messages and call on their grown-ups to make roads safer, so more children can enjoy the health and planet-saving benefits of walking, cycling and scooting to school.
To coincide with the launch of the walk, road safety charity Brake has highlighted the true extent of child casualties on Wale's roads.
Latest Department for Transport (DfT) figures for 2019 show that the authorities with the greatest change in child road casualty figures are Denbighshire (down 58%), Gwynedd (down 44%) and Vale of Glamorgan (down 41%), reporting 33, 32 and 23 child road casualties per annum on average.
Cardiff is consistently the local authority with the highest number of child road casualties, reporting an average of 69 annually across the past five years. Rhondda Cynon Taff also has some of the highest rates in the region, averaging 66 per annum, although the figure of 46 reported in 2019 is less than half its 2016 figure (99), indicating that progress has been made.
The local authorities reporting the lowest rates of child road casualties are Monmouthshire (9 on average) and Blaenau Gwent (10), although these figures are fairly static for the region.
The overall picture in Wales mirrors that in the UK at large, with a slow, steady decline in child road casualty rates over the past five years. The only Welsh local authority not following this pattern is Caerphilly, which reported 28 child road casualties in 2015 and 30 in 2019.
Schools and nurseries from the region are joining the nationwide campaign, calling for five key measures to enable children to make safe and healthy journeys: footpaths, cycle paths, safe places to cross, slow traffic and clean traffic.
Short, supervised walks are taking place on the 16th June at or around schools and nurseries. Children will walk in a crocodile formation and hold hands to highlight the importance of being able to walk without fear or threat from traffic.
Schools can also run special road-safety-themed assemblies, lessons and fun activities, using free resources from Brake and featuring Shaun the Sheep and his friends. Resources are available to any parent, carer or teacher to download for free at www.brake.org.uk/kidswalk with many posters and activities available in both English and Welsh.
Aardman Animations have kindly lent their imagery of Shaun the Sheep and friends to support this campaign.
Scott Williams, head of programme delivery at Brake, said:
"It's every child's right to be able to walk in their community without fear of traffic and pollution. Throughout the pandemic families have taken to the streets on foot and by bike and we hope these activities will continue as restrictions lift and ordinary road traffic returns. It is vital that children are able to walk safely in the places where they live. Although numbers of children killed or injured in Wales shows positive signs of decline, every road death or injury is one too many and causes devastation for families, schools and communities. This year we hope to inspire as many children, schools and families as possible to call for safe and healthy journeys for children through our Brake's Kids Walk event."
David McMillan, CEO at esure Group added:
"We are thrilled to have partnered with Brake to sponsor this year's event as we believe in the importance of road safety for children everywhere. We want to be a force for good and make a real difference by focusing on better and safer driving. Brake's Kids Walk is an important opportunity to raise awareness about road safety messages."