Background Children are more likely to be accompanied by the age 10 after which their independent mobility increases initially as pedestrian and bicyclists, and later as drivers of motorcycles and four-wheelers. The mobility patterns of children were mostly surveyed in high or upper middle income countries. The aim of this study was to understand the mobility in children to and from school in urban dense lower middle income country.
Methods This survey of school children was conducted from September to December 2014 in Karachi, Pakistan. Children in grades 6–10 approximately age 10–14 years from a random sample of 58 schools were interviewed face to face and their parents were interviewed on telephones. Mobility pattern was compared across gender.
Results There were 1288 children and 732 parents interviewed. On the day of survey, majority of children reported walking (72%) to schools (58.6% girls’ vs 41.4% boys). Majority of parents (71%) also reported walking as the travel model of children to and from school. There were 22% boys who came to school on their own compared to 16% girls however more girls (30%) were accompanied with someone compared to boys (5.4%). While according to parents 49% of boy children and 29% of girl children were allowed to go school on their own. Less than half (43%) of children were allowed to cross main roads (same ratio of boys and girls). There were three-fourth girls who thought their parents never trust them when they were in road traffic on their own.
Conclusions Although walking is the common travel mode of both boys and girls for their schools but parents’ license for mobility varies by sex of the children with more restrictions for girls.
- low income country
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