Recalcitrant hand-washers, beware! Earnest messages are on the way!
With "webisodes," games, theme songs and heck, an entire make-believe world, the new website scrubclub.org is meant to drive home the message -- in full-cartoon, kid-beckoning, attention-riveting color -- that kids should wash their hands, and, by extension, help prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus.
Says the description of the characters: "Each of the Scrub Club Soaper-Heroes represents one of the six steps in the handwashing process -- 'Hot Shot' and 'Chill' combine to make the warm water essential for proper handwashing; 'Squeaks' turns into various forms of soap; 'Taki' becomes a clock that counts down the required 20 seconds for proper handwashing; 'Scruff' reminds kids to clean around their nails; 'Tank' turns into a sink to rinse away the germs and 'P.T.' transforms into paper towels. Interactive games, including the one that features the evil villain 'Influenza Enzo -- Stop Fluin' Around,' teach children how illnesses are spread and how to prevent them."
NSF International gets an A for effort, but ... kids are fairly adept at distinguishing between the well-intentioned and the truly entertaining.
You'd think a generation that grew up throwing important-message coloring and comic books under the bed upon receipt would know this.
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: What's so hard about "Wash your hands or you'll get sick and miss your play date with Drew? Credit: Thomas Lohnes / AFP /Getty Images