For Good Health, Enjoy the Great Outdoors

I recently traveled and hiked in Norway. During my trip I discovered that every kid goes outside every day of the school year, often in rain and snow, frequently exploring in the woods found nearby. This and many other studies have shown that the Norsemen are educationally pretty smart cookies.

It’s Never Too Early!

It may seem a little early to start talking about the flu, but there are recent publications providing important preliminary recommendations for the upcoming flu season.  Notable is the recommendation that live attenuated influenza virus (LAIV) vaccine (i.e. Flumist) NOT be used for the 2017-18 season so prepare your children for injectable flu vaccine only! This is doubtful to change when final guidelines from the CDC come out later this summer. According to the CDC there were 99 pediatric deaths due to influenza this past season. That’s 99 too many in my opinion! KPA is already preparing for the 2017-18 influenza season and will let you know soon when we’ll begin flu shots. Click here to link to an important article from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
 

The Best Places for Kids to Bike This Summer

I have a confession to make: I love riding bikes of all types. My husband and I enjoy road cycling, mountain biking and beach cruising. We have cycled in many places including Italy, Colorado and California, but some of the best biking is right here in our area. One of my goals is to get more kids interested in biking, and here are some great ways to get started.

Be a good example: always wear a helmet when cycling, even for short distances. If your child is interested in off road trails (aka mountain biking), elbow and knee pads are a good idea.

Be visible: if you’re going to ride near motorists, choose bright colors and use headlights and tail lights to make yourself standout to drivers.

Choose safe places to ride: Knoxville has an amazing network of greenways (112 miles!) that are a safe haven from motorists. Find the one closest to you here.

In Oak Ridge, the Melton Lake Greenway is a great choice… it has 5.7 miles of paved lakefront greenway trails.  Click here for information.

During the summer months, the Cades Cove Loop road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed to automobile traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00.  While not exactly flat, its very doable for kids of all ages, and they’ll likely spot turkey and deer along the way.

If your child is more adventurous, Knoxville also has the Urban Wilderness, a 50 mile network of multi-use trails in wooded areas.  A great starter trail for kids is the Sycamore Loop (1.2 miles) at Baker Creek Preserve that is mostly flat. At Forks of the River, Wyatt’s Way leads to Dozer and the Will Skelton Greenway, which during the month of July features large fields of sunflowers.

Find maps here: Forks of the RiverBaker Creek

For older kids looking for more mountain biking, the TVA managed Loyston Point Recreation Area has  12.7 miles of multi-use trails that are suitable for kids.

For more information on biking in and around Knoxville check out ibikeknox.com and outdoorknoxville.com