New Tablet App Makes Hand Washing Fun for Pre-School Kids

SCA survey finds that 82 percent of American parents feel that better hand hygiene at school or day-care could reduce family sick days

Oct 15, 2013, 09:00 ET from SCA

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Having a sick child can wreak havoc on parents' work-life balance – unexpectedly missing a day of work, negotiating which parent stays home, and dealing with the fear of lost pay are just a few ways. Eight out of 10 parents with young children (86%) experience some level of stress when a child is sick, new research reveals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the simple act of hand washing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of viral and bacterial infections. So today, on Global Handwashing Day, global hygiene company SCA has launched a new tablet app that teaches pre-school children the importance of proper hand washing.

The app, "Ella's Hand Washing Adventure," shows children how, when and why to wash their hands using a fun, storytelling approach. Parents and teachers can use the app to teach good hand hygiene practices at home and at school to reduce the spread of germs and infections. According to a new survey of American parents also released today by SCA, 82% of parents with children aged 2-6 believe that better hand hygiene at their child's pre-school, elementary school or day-care could reduce the occurrence of family sick days.

"Simply washing your hands effectively prevents infections, particularly among young kids in busy pre-school and day-care environments where they are constantly using their hands to explore food and objects, interact with other children, and more," said Amy Bellcourt, vice president of SCA. "Building on SCA's commitment to global hygiene, the app teaches children to embrace washing their hands, and helps parents and teachers impart good hygiene at an early age and reduce the impact of having a child stay home due to sickness."

SCA manufactures the Tork® brand of hygiene products, including Tork Elevation hand towel dispensers which reduce waste and the risk of cross-contamination in environments such as school restrooms, cafeterias, office buildings and sports facilities.

To parents, hand hygiene and pre-school go hand-in-hand
A majority of parents have high expectations of their children's schools as an arena for hygiene education – 90% think it is important that their children learn good hygiene there. However, 40% of parents don't actually know the procedures their child's pre-school or day-care has in place for hand hygiene, the survey revealed. Parents also acknowledge that getting their child to wash his or her hands can be tricky. As a solution, nearly three-quarters of surveyed parents (72%) view educational games as a way to improve hand hygiene in the classroom.

"Good hygiene is a basic lesson that needs to be communicated at a young age, and education at this early age is accelerated when using a gaming approach," continued Bellcourt. "The new app is a part of our commitment to keep hygiene top of mind, offering an engaging and entertaining tool to minimize infections and make life easier for both parents and teachers."

About the app – "Ella's Hand Washing Adventure"
The tablet app, "Ella's Hand Washing Adventure,'' is an interactive experience that combines play and learning to teach children between 2-6 years old why, when and how to wash their hands in 4 simple steps. The child moves through the app story with the main character, Ella, and her friends.

Features in the app are based on SCA's knowledge and expertise in hand washing, and the app is fact-checked by the Department of Communicable Disease Control (SMI) in Vastra Gotaland, Sweden. Pre-school children's feedback has been an important part of the development process, delivering a set-up that is intuitive and without written text, making it universally easy for young children to use. There is also hand hygiene content for teachers and parents accessible on the app's home screen.

"Ella's Hand Washing Adventure'' is available on both the App Store and Google Play today.

Highlights from the survey

  • Caring for sick children causes stress to 8 out of 10 parents (86%).
  • 82% of parents believe that their family's sick leave could be reduced if there was better hand hygiene at their children's pre-school/school/day-care.
  • 90% think it is important that children learn good hygiene at pre-school/school/day-care.
  • 40% of parents don't know what procedures their kids' pre-school/school/day-care has in place for hand hygiene.
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 of the parents surveyed (72 %) believe using playful and educational games to educate children would improve their hygiene, and nearly half (47%) believe that school staff would benefit from teaching aids that help children learn about hygiene in a fun way.

For hi-res images of the app, please visit this link:

About the survey
The survey has been executed by Ipsos Public Affairs on commission by SCA from October 1-9, 2013. The sample consists of 585 U.S. parents of a child ages 2-6.  Data has been collected through online panels with invites distributed through e-mail.

About SCA
SCA is a leading global hygiene and forest products company that develops and produces personal care products, tissue and forest products. With sales in 100 countries, SCA has 36,000 employees and had revenue in 2012 of $13 billion. With nine manufacturing facilities across North America, the company's Americas headquarters is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In North America, SCA produces the Tork® line of napkin, towel, tissue and wiper products used in commercial settings such as office buildings, restaurants, schools and healthcare facilities and the TENA® line of incontinence care products used by consumers at home and in healthcare facilities. TENA and Tork are the global leading brands in their categories. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Anisha Shah, Weber Shandwick, (212) 445-8342,