Background: Parents in a suburban community in Switzerland
were concerned about the safety of their children when walking
to kindergarten. A steering group was formed and a project
started with the aim of improving conditions for safe walking to
kindergarten and preventing the increase of car use for transport
Methods: Individual interviews, group interviews and questionnaires
were used to assess the needs of teachers, pupils and parents
respectively. Baseline counts of kindergarten pupils arriving by
car, school bus or on foot were obtained using three different methods.
Counts and parent questionnaires were repeated for follow-up
after one year and three years.
Results: The involvement of parents, teachers and kindergarten
children for the needs assessment was crucial to the project implementation
and acceptance. The young children’s self-report as well
as counts by older primary school students turned out to be reliable
methods for outcome measurement. The percentage of children
brought by car in the morning remained similar after one year with
some reduction being observed at 3-year follow-up.
Conclusions: Parents, kindergarten children and school children
made significant contributions to this walk to kindergarten project.
To achieve their full potential, project activities have to continue
over several years.