WASHINGTON (WNEW/AP) — When is the right time to start teaching kids about the birds and the bees?

Well, a study from Georgetown University recommends children learn about sexual health as early as 10 years old.

The researchers suggest giving sex education at 10 will help avoid unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths, unsafe abortions and sexually transimitted infections.

They warn that very young adolescents are exposed to these dangers just as they are entering puberty, usually from 10-14 years old for average American boys and girls.

“If programs…are implemented at a time when adolescents are still malleable and relatively free of sexual and reproductive health problems and gender role biases, very young adolescents can be guided safely through this life stage, supported by their parents, families and communities,” the study’s authors wrote.

The authors warn that without a grounding of education, teens and pre-teens don’t have the coping mechanisms to psychologically handle the physical changes their bodies experience.

“Since early adolescence marks a critical transition between childhood and older adolescence and adulthood…targeted investment in VYAs [very young adolescents] is imperative to lay foundations for healthy future relationships and positive SRH [sexual and reproductive health],” the study says.

Other experts say teaching kids about sexual science and behavior would give them time and self esteem needed to make sexual decisions later in life.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)