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Safety Smart: It's a Match From the Start

fireman and children in front of safety smart logo
July 24, 2018

Since 2014, more than 6 million elementary-aged children have learned about fundamental safety, health and environmental issues with the help of Timon and Pumbaa, from Disney’s The Lion King.

In the animated series, Timon and Pumbaa teach students from kindergarten through third grade using a cause and effect scenario-style education.  The program empowers children to make Safety Smart decisions by applying a decision-making process as an essential element of learning.

By demonstrating the potential consequences of unsafe behavior, Timon and Pumbaa show kids how to stay safe whether they are at home, at play, on the go, or online.

Safety Smart started with a 2004 partnership

Produced in partnership with Health World, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting comprehensive health and safety education, the animated series concept grew from a 2011 Safety Smart School Education Initiative where Health World educators trained to become official Safety Smart Ambassadors for UL’s Safety Smart program.

Safety Smart was designed to improve children’s awareness and understanding of safety, health and environmental issues, and ultimately impact their behavior. While the Safety Smart programs are accessible through the Safety Smart website; the partnership with Health World offers schools a protected and secure e-Learning platform approved for use by educational systems nationwide.

Through this online e-Learning instructional platform, Health World provides educators and schools with access to comprehensive and free health and safety curriculum by blending easy-to-use online tools with interactive materials and printable activities to make learning fun and simple for students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Students making “smart” choices

“Partnering with Health World reflects our mission of creating a safer world,” said Ginger Sommer, a program manager in the education and outreach department of UL’s not-for-profit division, handling research and content development for UL’s educational programs, including Safety Smart and Xplorlabs.

“We are hearing from teachers that, our content is helping them to engage young students in learning about how they can make the right choices about their own health, safety and the environment.”

Health World and UL worked to divide the animation into “bite-size” chapters. Now, classroom teachers play the animated video until a Health World instructor comes onscreen to summarize the lessons the children have just learned as well as suggest interactive activities for the class.

Teachers then facilitate the activities with the students, blending the animation, instruction and interaction all the while engaging the students with entertaining and fun learning.

Reaching more students

Safety Smart was created with student empowerment in mind, said Sommer, which helps generate curiosity and robust classroom learning.

The Safety Smart series is offered in both English and Spanish. Since translating program materials to serve a greater population of Spanish-speaking teachers and students within the U.S. and Mexico, the program has been able to reach more than 152,000 additional students.

Moreover, for students in the fourth through sixth grades, Health World offers “Safety Smart Science with Bill Nye The Science Guy®,” a series that delves into the science behind safety focusing on fire, water, electricity, health and renewable energy.

“We value our partnership with Health World and look forward to continuing our work with them in helping children and their families learn to make more informed choices today and in the future – that’s doing our part and being Safety Smart!"

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