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Layin in he Ra

Forget what your mom said—there's no reason to keep kids cooped up when it rains. More wet-weather wisdom:

Dress right. "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing," says Bethe Almeras, training director at Head Start Body Start Center for Physical Development. Dress your puddle jumper in duds you don't mind getting dirty, plus a raincoat, rain boots, and a good hat, she advises. Being wet (even wet and cold) will not make your child sick, but you don't want him to be uncomfortable.

Make mud pies. "Getting dirty Is a rite of passage and a vital part of childhood," says Almeras. "And we now know that some exposure to dirt and germs actually boosts kids' immune systems,"

Fill 'er up. Give your kids cups and have them race to see whose fills up with rainwater the fastest, Good to know: It's safe to catch raindrops on your tongue as they fall from the sky, says Eric Sundel, M.D., chairman of the department of pediatrics at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. Once rain hits the ground, however, it can become contaminated with bacteria. So keep an eye out for puddle-sipping toddlers (oh, yes—they'll try it!).

Know when to take cover. A

little rain never hurt anyone, but lightning certainly could. Head indoors pronto at the first clap of thunder. —Patty Onderko

kid [health]

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