During the summer of 2022, two new themed playgrounds were created in Helsingborg; one in Fredriksdal and one in Dockanparken in the new district of Oceanhamnen. Public toilets were built next to both playgrounds. Placing public toilets next to playgrounds is nothing new. Adapting the design of the toilets both externally and internally so that they become a clear part of the overall experience for those who visit the playground - we have not tested this before.

Together with Danfo, the city developed a completely new toilet concept that we call the Family Toilet. The goal of the Family Toilet is to create safe and happy toilet experiences for the users, where children/young people and the adults in their vicinity are seen as the primary target group. In the development, we listened to the needs and wishes of the users and in connection with the H22 city expo, the finished product was in place so that the users could test, like and contribute to further development.


In Helsingborg, there is a will to develop the city in a more child-friendly direction. To succeed in this, we need to become better at listening in and acting based on the children's needs and wishes.

With insight from everyday life, where a five-year-old did not want to go to a public toilet in connection with a playground visit, an early idea was born of a toilet where the children's user experience is in focus. Now children are individuals and not a homogeneous group. This of course means that a child's experience is not representative of all children. At the same time, that five-year-old with a fear of toilets is probably not alone in thinking that it is okay to go to the toilet. Many parents can certainly confirm that picture and that it can often be a challenge and a certain resistance when it is time for the children to fulfill the needs. Especially when it comes to doing it in a public restroom.

What is it then about the toilet situation that arouses such discomfort in many children? And is there anything we can do to change that?


In the spring of 2020, the idea of creating toilets with and for children was born. At the beginning of the autumn of the same year, the idea was pitched for colleagues at the City Building Administration and shortly afterwards a dialogue was initiated with our procured toilet supplier Danfo. In parallel, we conducted interviews with children, young people and parents in Helsingborg. We talked to mainly small but also older children, teenagers, parents and some vulnerable groups and people with special needs. In the interview process, we asked open-ended questions, partly about the experience today but also how one would like it to be. In total, we talked to about 40 people. We processed the material we received and identified a couple of different themes / areas. We included these as input in the dialogue with Danfo.

The usual way is that we act as a customer and place an order for what we want with the supplier. In this case, we decided to do it together by forming a joint working group, where we enter with equal shares of development time. Before the turn of the year 2020/2021, the decision was made and soon afterwards we started the practical work. We started with an idea to make toilets more child-friendly and came to develop a completely new toilet concept where the child is the focus while also looking after the whole family experience. The work has been characterized by an open dialogue, where we all came up with ideas and suggestions for solutions. A great strength has been that we have had a diversity of abilities in the work. Another that the commitment has been genuine from "both sides". During the spring of 2022, both toilets, in Dockanparken and Fredriksdal respectively, were ready for use. During the H22 city expo, a dialogue was carried out with children and families, which is now the basis for continued development. The dialogue aimed to further increase knowledge about how:

  • Design, layout and technology can make it easier for children and families to use the toilet and make it safer.
  • To evaluate how a clear design, layout and technology for children and families affects security in the public place.

It is worth adding that in the fall of 2022, the working group that carried out the hypothesis lab Dementia-friendly Helsingborg (The exploratory city of R&D) brings in experiences from the innovation initiative Family Toilets and continues the collaboration with Danfo. The goal is now to learn more about another target group and their needs in order to develop dementia-friendly toilets for the city's residents. This scaling demonstrates how the effect of the H22 investment cannot only be linked to a completed pilot, but also how the cultural movement in public activities, like rings on the water, will create value for the citizens of Helsingborg for a long time to come. The project "Together we build the caring city: Innovation in collaboration for a dementia-friendly Helsingborg" is a Vinnova-funded project about social sustainability in the physical environment and a collaboration between academia, business, target group and relatives that is driven across different administrative boundaries to meet one of the city's defined challenge: How do we meet the new and growing expectations of the elderly.

Impact target

That children should think it feels safe and fun to go to the toilet.

  • Driven by

    The City Building Administration

  • Challenge

    How can we improve security for our citizens?

  • Category


  • Sector

    Co-creation, Public environment, City building, Urban planning

  • Partners

    Danfo, The city management administration


Name: Pamela Sjöstrand
E-mail: pamela.sjostrand@helsingborg.se

Name: Georg Hermann
E-mail: georg.hermann@helsingborg.se

Name: Elisabeth Möllerström
E-mail: elisabeth.mollerstrom@helsingborg.se

Name: Lovisa Snekkersten
E-mail: lovisa.snekkersten@gmail.com