Letter from the Editor July 2010

Jenna Hammond

When I went to summer camp, swim was a daily activity. For lessons, we buddied up, joined our groups that were based on skill level and took to the water like fishes, or guppies really, learning to make each stroke in stride. Free swim meant we could roam the waters mostly on our own, as long as we stuck to the buddy system. On sweltering days, the lake was a cool haven, though often teeming with rambunctious kids. During lessons, we occasionally bemoaned the murky water, but we were facing the experience collectively, except for Michelle.

Michelle protested she couldn't get wet due to her severe case of swimmer's ear. The condition persisted day in and day out, for her eight summers at Camp Ken-Wood. Whether or not Michelle truly suffered from this malady, or she merely detested lake water (we didn't get a pool until our last year at camp), the swim staff agreed to play it safe in case Michelle really did hear ringing sounds, felt dizzy and was enduring constant pain. After all, these are symptoms of swimmer's ear, which can recur, as you'll read in "Water World."

Written by Dr. Mark J. Shikowitz, M.D., FACS, the article addresses the causes, methods of treatment and prevention, and symptoms of otitis externa, aka swimmer's ear. Most prevalent in young children, particularly during the summer months, the condition is a painful inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal. Think your child is immune because she's too young to swim? As the article declares, even bath water can be to blame for swimmer's ear. Besides, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued new guidelines urging parents to enroll children as young as age 1 in swimming lessons to decrease drowning incidents. After reading Shikowitz's piece on swimmer's ear, read more about the guidelines on our News You Can Use archive from late May on www.parentguidenews.com. Your kids will be safer, and you'll be more informed, for it.

Do your kids already delight in swimming? Perhaps the time is right to explore sand and surf in the open seas. Discover excellent options for traveling as a family to warm weather locales with a look at cruise travel, all-inclusive destinations and kid-friendly luxury resorts spotlighted in "Great Getaways." Penned by travel writer Kara Mayer Robinson, the article especially suits families vacationing with at least five people. You'll find advice to accommodate all family members, from the tiniest tot like Mayer Robinson's baby during her family's cruise last summer, to grandparents who you may be voyaging with in upcoming months.

For all of you who will be home with little ones this summer— or readers looking for an activity to do en route to the many places you'll be going— "Little Learners" has engaging activities to make reading come alive for the preschool set. Written by Dr. Emily Levy, a trusted educational center founder and director, the article helps parents facilitate their children's understanding of letters and words. Do you have a child attending kindergarten in the fall? Then you'll definitely want to peruse the wisdom in the article to get your child's elementary school experience off to a smart start.

Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond