Big Kid Kids Health

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    I grew up chomping on Flintstones vitamins. Now my daughter does the same (only hers are gummies, and far yummier). Still, when I asked at her last checkup, "Does my child need a multivitamin?" I didn't get a straight answer -- and a ton of recent media coverage claims that vitamins aren't necessary and can actually do harm, and that many kids get too many vitamins and minerals, which is potentially harmful since certain nutrients are unhealthy taken in high amounts. So what's the deal: Do kids need a multivitamin, or are they a waste of money ... or even potentially harmful when combined with all the fortified cereals, milk, juices, and other fortified foods available today?

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    Summer has moms on high alert for tick bites on kids, and for good reason: These nasty insects can cause all sorts of illnesses including Lyme disease. Only what's it like to actually come down with this much-dreaded ailment? To find out, we talked to Kathleen O’Rourke, 49, co-founder of Bay Area Lyme Foundation, whose 15-year-old son, Louis, came down with the disease four years earlier -- a discovery which led her to realize that she also had the condition herself. Here is their story:

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    Of all the bugs that accost us during summer, ticks strike fear in the heart of most moms. Every black dot on our kid's skin is cause for alarm. Every dot that turns out to be a freckle, a sigh of relief. Not only do these tiny bugs bury their heads under our skin, they carry a plethora of tick-borne illnesses including the very serious Lyme disease, which can drag on for years with symptoms ranging from joint pain to fatigue to neurological disorders, learning disabilities, even death.

    Here's what to do if you find a tick embedded in your child's skin.

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    Kids who wander into a patch of poison ivy can pay dearly for this mistake ... only if you're a parent keen to ease your child's suffering, never fear -- there's plenty you can do. Follow these guidelines to get the details on how to treat poison ivy on kids, from how to I.D. the rash to ways to alleviate the itch.

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    In the eyes of many natural moms, commercial bug spray presents more dangers to their kids than the insects they repel. And they have some reason to worry -- studies have shown that pesticides like DEET can cause a host of problems in children. So what's a holistic-minded mom to do, short of letting her kids get bitten to death? One option is you can make your own bug spray at home. As is the case with all-natural remedies, it's best to consult your doctor before trying them, and test for allergies on a small area of skin first. But since the ingredients are all-natural, the odds of an adverse reaction are slim. Here we highlight five all-natural recipes from holistic bloggers and explain what makes them effective.

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    Mosquito bites suck, literally. No child gets through summer without getting bit, a lot. And since kids rarely possess the self control to not scratch 'til they bleed, it's imperative that parents know the best way to treat mosquito bites so they can minimize their little one's discomfort. Here are the steps to take:

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    Like many overprotective moms, I slather my kid in sunscreen all summer. The irony? According to the Environmental Working Group, many store-bought sunscreens contain potentially dangerous ingredients, from allergens to toxic chemicals. In an effort to shield their kids from these health threats, a growing number of holistic moms are swapping recipes on how to make your own natural sunscreen at home.

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    For kids, summer comes with the added risk of injury, from scrapes to bug bites to poison ivy. But according to holistic health experts, a bunch of natural treatments can be found right in your own home, and even cobbled together into your own kid-friendly summer first-aid kit. As with anything, of course, you should consult your doctor first to make sure these treatments are right for you. Here are a few worth considering:

    Photo via Jessica Lucia/Flickr

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    Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, and what better ingredients to include in it than vitamins. Right? Maybe not. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), overly fortified cereals can be bad for kids

    In its annual report, the organization found that some popular cereals contain lots of zinc, niacin, and vitamin A.That doesn't sound so bad, so what's the problem?

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    There are some oddball milestones in parenting, aren't there? A recent one for me was taking my son to see Godzilla. The noise, the monsters, the immersive nature of watching it in IMAX 3D ... there was a time I would've predicted that sort of movie outing would have been about as successful as trying to force-feed him a bag of live spiders.

    It seems so obvious in retrospect: he wouldn't have enjoyed a loud dramatic movie because he was too young. But at the time, I thought of him as quirky. I mentally referred to his sensory issues. It occurs to me -- now that he's older, now that I'm not so caught up in how he compares to other kids his age -- that our easy access to an infinite amount of anecdotal medical information has ruined our collective ability to let our kids develop at their own pace.

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