Tukes has developed a safety game for young children together with Yle
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), together with Yle, Finland's national broadcasting company and Demola, a student innovation centre in Tampere, has generated a safety game aimed at children aged between 3 and 5. A section entitled Piki's Room, published on the Pikku Kakkonen website, teaches children the safe ways to act in a fun and engaging manner. Tukes hopes the game will have a positive impact on children's attitudes toward safety and reduce the number of accidents involving children.
The idea of a children's safety game first emerged at Tukes about a year ago. Children's attitudes toward safety and how to behave are formed early on, even before they start school. Safety-related material aimed at this age group is not widely available.
"In general, children below the age of five are not able to read, but they do play games on various devices. Which is why we chose games as a channel to introduce basic, age-appropriate safety messages for children. Our objective was also to encourage parents to discuss safety issues at home with their children from an early age", says Johanna Salomaa-Valkamo, Director of Communications at Tukes, about the background of the game.
Children's safety game is engaging and educational at the same time. By playing the game, children unintentionally learn safe ways of acting in their own environment.
"Our aim is to educate children and make them more safety-conscious citizens. We know that moulding attitudes is long-term work that should start as early as possible. The effects of children's safety education can be visible even decades later, as safer behaviour and decreased accident rates", says Tuiri Kerttula, Director of Product and Installation Surveillance at Tukes.
Besides influencing attitudes, our aim is also to actually reduce the number of accidents involving children. Every year, children are involved in a number of accidents at home and close to home. Many of these accidents could be prevented. In 2010–2012, the average annual number of fatal accidents involving children under 7 was 14, and the number of children hospitalised because of an accident was 2,700. Common types of accidents are road traffic accidents, drowning, suffocation and poisoning.
Students at Demola were responsible for the practical elements of the game, under guidance from Tukes. The game was tested at various stages with children aged between 3 and 5 at day care centres in Tampere, and developed further based on their feedback.
"At Pikku Kakkonen, we have made several safety-related programmes over the years. The most famous is probably the one about thin ice. The new Piki's Room game is a great continuation of this tradition", says Jarmo Oksa, executive producer, Yle Children and Youth.
"With the partners' good and active cooperation, we managed to create excellent results in this project, namely three safety-related games suitable for the target group. The students took an active role in testing the game elements and were happy to accept feedback from a demanding group of end-users, i.e. the children", says Antti Salomaa, facilitator of the student project at Demola.
The game, Piki's Room, was published this week on the Pikku Kakkonen website at http://www.yle.fi/pikkukakkonen/#!/pikin-huone. The game works on computers and mobile devices. It is also available as a mobile application.
The game is currently being developed further, and the new elements are due to be completed during spring 2015.
Tukes supervises and promotes technical safety and conformity, as well as consumer and chemicals safety, in various sectors in Finland. The purpose of Tukes' operations is to protect people, property and the environment from risks to safety. Tukes' fields of operation include electricity and lifts, chemical production plants, mining, explosives, fireworks, pressure equipment, measuring instruments, articles made of precious metals, rescue service equipment, construction products, consumer safety and the energy efficiency and ecological efficiency of products.
Johanna Salomaa-Valkamo, Director of Communications, tel. + 358 (0)295 052481
Tuiri Kerttula, Director, Product and Installations Surveillance, tel. + 358 (0)295 052643