The number of children killed or seriously injured on British roads has hit an worrying 20-year high, according to latest figures.
The 2013/14 total is also the only time this tally has risen since 1995, the DfT's provisional statistics suggest.
The RAC called the figures "alarming".
The amount of under-16s killed or badly injured in the 12 months to last September rose 3%, compared to the corresponding 2012/13 period. Over the 12 months child casualties increased by 6% and minor injuries went up by 5%.
Deaths across all age groups rose 1% to 1,730 and serious injuries, including fatalities, increased by 4%. Cyclist casualties went up by 8%, while the amount of motorcyclists hurt also jumped by 6%.
Summer road deaths and serious injuries showed a slight fall, however.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: "It is alarming to see that years of progress on road safety appears to have come to an abrupt halt, with this increase going against the trend of falls in road fatalities and casualties for almost all of the last thirty years.
"Most worrying of all is that child fatalities and casualties in England and Wales are on the up for the first time since 1995 with the figures showing an increase in each quarter of 2014 over 2013 - the first time in 20 years that we have witnessed a year-on-year increase. Similarly the increase in deaths and serious injuries among cyclists, 8% up in the year to September 2014, is a trend we cannot ignore.
"The RAC has highlighted the lack of focus that the current government has shown to road safety, but this is surely the wake-up call that is needed to give the topic the attention and resources it deserves. The public will not accept complacency and we should not be satisfied until we reduce fatalities on UK roads to zero.
"In the run-up to the May election the RAC is calling on all parties to make road safety and road safety education a priority in their manifestos, and to address the urgent need to invest in high-profile campaigns to tackle some of the worst driving behaviours. This should include clearly placing road safety education on the national curriculum for school children, and for that matter for all road users.
"These worrying figures are also a reminder for this and the next government of the need to set national targets for reductions in road fatalities and serious accidents. There can no longer be any justification to resist setting these, and we know historically such targets has proved effective in helping to focus efforts and prioritise actions to reduce casualties."
Copyright Press Association 2015