Pedestrian injuries account for approximately 1,500 pediatric deaths each year. More than 60 percent of such accidents occur late in the day when natural light is fading or absent. Adult pedestrians walking at night overestimate, by as much as 300 percent, the time at which they become visible to the driver of an oncoming car.1 In studies of nighttime fatalities, 85 percent of motorists stated that they did not see their victim in time to avoid the collision and half of the motorists were unaware of the pedestrian until after fatal contact.
One approach to decreasing the vulnerability of children to such injuries would be to increase their visibility at night through the use of retroreflective materials. These materials can be incorporated into the fabric of jackets, Halloween costumes, jogging suits, backpacks, bicycle helmets, etc. This would enhance visibility before contact was made. Experience in Sweden has shown that the use of retroreflective tags on outerwear can reduce nighttime pedestrian deaths by 25 percent.