I love taking the kids swimming, but there is always a moment of dread when they tear out of the changing room, eager to get to the pool. I have nightmares about children running in swimming pools. I’ve fixed too many broken front teeth with injuries sustained poolside. But EVERY time, they run and I turn into a wailing Banshee. At best it results in a fast walk. Until one day when Studio AKA, the genius team behind top children’s animation Hey Duggee launched “The Paddling Pool Badge” during which Duggee reminds the squirrels about poolside safety. I think nothing more of it until fast forward to our next swim. As usual Archie runs out but then Ava calls “Don’t run by the pool. Duggee says so!”
And so I got thinking. Was there a way of embracing the power of Duggee to help improve children’s oral health? I tend to live by a “Shy bairns get nowt” philosophy, (it’s the adopted Geordie in me), so in June 2017 I wrote to the wonderful production team at Studio AKA and asked if they would consider a healthy teeth badge. They sent a lovely reply saying they liked the concept and the rest, as they say, is history.
We worked on a script and key messages and agreed that the squirrels would be brushing to music, a concept inspired by the free and NHS approved Brush DJ app. Public health messages are often most successful when they are fun – this article “Can the add industry persuade us to eat more vegetables?” is a source of inspiration for me.
Children don’t want to be nagged and parents don’t want to be reminded of yet another task they have to squeeze into an already busy day, but deliver your message in a fun way and you might just be onto a winner. Behaviour change is complicated, but I believe that thanks to Duggee’s help, we might be making brushing time a little more fun, for everyone. A-woof to that!
You can watch The Tooth Brushing Badge on iPlayer.
All images owned by Studio AKA.