Safe journeys to school by means of high-visibility clothing, satchels and school bags for children and young people

Project No. IFA 5143


completed 12/2019


The "Safe School" web portal contains information on possible routine arrangements for safe organization and running of schools. As yet however, it does not provide information on visibility during journeys to and from school. The statistics for accidents on such journeys in 2015 revealed a slight increase over the previous year.

Children and young people are poorly visible to other road users, especially in the autumn and winter months. In addition, children and adolescents in particular are distracted by the use of smartphones and headphones, and as a result are not sufficiently aware of traffic.

The purpose of this project was to determine the current state of knowledge and to evaluate and process it with respect to the target group (teachers, parents, schoolchildren, the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions for the public sector, OSH professionals). Facts, information and text modules were to be collated in a final report for publication on the "Safe School" web portal and elsewhere, and made available to the accident insurance institutions – primarily those responsible for the public sector – for media purposes.


Between 2017 and 2019, several project meetings were held with representatives from the Educational facilities Expert committee, the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions for the public sector, the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization (KAN), the DGUV and the IFA. In July 2017 for example, a meeting was held on the topic of early learning, better visibility and good prevention. During these meetings, the objectives of the project were specified more closely with regard to the target group, the content and information to be generated (e.g. for school satchels and high-visibility clothing) and the development of materials. The project's initiators and participants consider the web portal at and the production of flyers to be suitable means of disseminating this information.

In the course of the project, several field and laboratory studies were carried out on high-visibility materials and products. The studies examined the visibility of different fluorescent colours of school satchels, children's clothing and high-visibility accessories. Children's clothing and accessories available for purchase were modified with reference to existing requirements in standards concerning high-visibility clothing and accessories, and the visibility of these products was studied under different lighting conditions.

The results of previous field trials, laboratory studies, committee work and literature surveys were compiled, evaluated and processed with reference to the target groups including teachers, parents, schoolchildren, the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions for the public sector and OSH professionals.


During the project, a range of information such as market analyses, information on accident patterns, accident statistics, accidents on journeys to and from school, and also on usage of high-visibility clothing, was collected over an observation period from 2010 to the present. Market research has shown that wearers prefer dark clothing and that the choice of luminous clothing available is very limited. Retroreflective and fluorescent clothing is to be found primarily in the sports sector, and then often only at high prices. Vendors advertise the good visibility of their products, but their efficacy is low compared for example to high-visibility vests. Accessories such as sports bags are generally dark in colour.

The German standard for school satchels (DIN 58124), published in 2018, offered a greater range of permissible fluorescent colours. Despite this, the availability of school satchels complying with the standard continues to fall.

Image and video material is being made available to the DGUV portal. This material shows for example scenarios involving children or shop window dummies matching the target group, and high visibility clothing (high-visibility vests, school satchels complying with the standard) contrasted with dark clothing of low visibility. Text modules have also been produced, explaining for example that the visibility of persons in road traffic is increased by retroreflective and fluorescent elements on clothing and accessories.

The DGUV's Road safety Subcommittee within the Educational facilities Expert committee may in future launch a project of its own, building upon the content of the IFA project. The test persons are schoolchildren of all age groups, but the focus lies upon children from kindergarten age up to around 11. The intended target group includes parents, childcare professionals and teachers. The content is to be coordinated with the DGUV's Communications department and then disseminated through the portal at, DGUV Informative publications, and specialist journals.

This project could be extended with a view to creating a module for physics lessons on the subjects of retroreflection and fluorescent colours.

Last Update:

21 Apr 2020


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)
  • UK NRW Fachbereich Bildungseinrichtungen

education, science

Type of hazard:



accident prevention, traffic accidents

Description, key words:

accident prevention, road traffic hazards, visibility in traffic under all visibility conditions, high-visibility clothing, satchels and bags in medium-risk situations (EN ISO 20471:2013 + A1:2016, Annex A)