Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 Paperback – 1 Oct 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Being a first-time mom it is very easy to become concerned with questions regarding the child's development and behaviour.
This book however puts all of these worries to rest as it explains things very well. It is well written and therefore easy to read. Plus it provides answers to questions other books haven't.
I highly recommend it! Even if it has been put together by the American Association of Paediatrics & not the British.
Once again. I love the book & highly recommend it to new mums and experienced ones alike.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. IT'S TRUSTWORTHY. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which according to its Web site represents 60,000 pediatricians, publishes it. Over 100 pediatricians (and 4 dentists) contributed to the book. The information is sound and up-to-date as of 2009. The opinions expressed are "mainstream" (not "fringe"), which is reassuring since child-rearing is stressful.
2. IT'S WIDE-RANGING (and some may go farther in describing it as "complete" or "comprehensive"). Although no book can be all things to all people, it contains important information on many common health and behavior problems, and it gives advice on when problems might be so serious that you should bring the child to a doctor.
3. IT'S RELATIVELY EASY TO READ AND USE. The authors write clearly and concisely. Although some jargon is present (e.g., "flat angiomata"), that is held to a minimum. The organization into Part 1 (pages 1-506, covering normal development and needs chronologically from birth to age 5*) and Part 2 (pages 507-848, covering specific health issues from "Abdominal/Gastrointestinal Tract" to "Emergencies" to "Your Child's Sleep") is logical. You'll find the index quite useful for locating info (but see "B" below). Numerous drawings and text boxes complement the body of the text.
4. IT'S IMPROVED FROM THE FOURTH (2004) EDITION, with 145 more pages. Some of the less useful parts of the old edition have been scrapped**, and this edition has a lot of revised or new material***. The text is more pleasant to read than before because there is more space between the lines, and the illustrations are better coordinated with the text.
OK, now for five (minor) downsides, which I'll phrase in the form of a wish list.
A. I WISH THAT THE BOOK HAD ITS OWN WEB SITE for updates, corrections, etc., along the lines of the sites for Baby Bargains, 8th Edition: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Gear, Clothes, Toys, Maternity Wear and Much, Much More! or AAP's own Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases (Red Book Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases).
B. I WISH THAT IT COULD BE SEARCHED ELECTRONICALLY (even though the index is generally very useful). Example 1: Let's say I was interested in complementary and alternative medicine, folk remedies, and the like. There's no index entry relevant to these - you have to manually find the box on "natural" therapies on page 619. Example 2: If you want info on mercury in fish, the index doesn't have "mercury" or "fish" as main entries; you have to go to "food," then "fish warning." An electronic index would prevent problems like these. [NOTE ADDED AFTER WRITING THIS REVIEW: Maybe I missed it the first time around, but Amazon's "Click to Look Inside" allows you to search individual words in the book. Thanks, Amazon!]
C. I WISH THAT THE AAP HAD KEPT ITS PUBLIC POLICY OPINIONS OUT OF THE BOOK. We learn that the AAP supports "legislation that would prohibit smoking in public places" (page 9), "gun-control legislation" (page 470), "legislative efforts to improve the quality of children's [television] programming" (page 579), etc. The AAP's Web site, not a book on parenting, is the right place for political statements such as those.
D. I WISH THAT SOME OF THE STATEMENTS HAD BEEN LESS BLACK-OR-WHITE. Example: Page 786 claims that heart murmurs "become a concern" when "they occur very early at birth" because they "are not functional or innocent" (with "not" italicized). But studies such as "Prevalence And Clinical Significance Of Cardiac Murmurs In Neonates" and "Can Cardiologists Distinguish Innocent From Pathologic Murmurs In Neonates?" find that perhaps only half of heart murmurs in newborns are actually problematic. So a better wording would have been "...MAY NOT BE functional or innocent."
E. I WISH THAT IT HAD PHOTOGRAPHS. For example, photos would be worth a thousand words for the skin rashes, birthmarks, and such mentioned on pages 127-128 and 813-836.
Purchase this very nice book from Amazon.com!
* In Part 1, the topics within each chapter from "5. Your Baby's First Days" to "13. Your Four- to Five-Year-Old" may include "Growth and Development" (e.g., movement, language, cognitive, social, emotional); "Basic Care" like feeding and sleeping; "Behavior"; "Health Watch" or "Visit to the Pediatrician"; "Immunization Update"; and "Safety Check."
** Among the material deleted from the old edition are some drawings (e.g., how to use a cloth diaper, hormones in the milk let-down process, crib gym and mobile), some data graphics (e.g., table of sugar content of juices, pie chart of causes of developmental disabilities), and some text (e.g., on vegetables with nitrates, "smaller extended families," "working mothers," and "stay-at-home fathers").
*** Some selected specific improvements: (i) Information on weaning from breast to bottle has been moved from the chapter on 4-7 months to the chapter on 8-12 months. (ii) "The Second Year" chapter in the old edition has been retitled to the less confusing "Your One-Year Old." (iii) The "Age Three to Five Years" chapter has been split into separate chapters for 3-year-olds and for 4- to 5-year-olds. (iv) Part 2 has been reorganized more-or-less alphabetically with new chapters 17 on allergies and 34 on sleep. (v) There is new or substantially revised text on psychological resilience (pages xxxiii-xxxvi), Tdap and other vaccines (7 & 793-800), toxoplasmosis (8), tests during pregnancy (10-13), delivery (13-6 and 36-8), probiotics (118 & 523), vitamin D (169), autism spectrum disorders (336-7 & 622-7), school transportation safety (450-1), E. coli (524-5), sickle cell (635-7), BPA (702), well water (703), and MRSA (825). (vi) The new Appendices on pages 850-866 collect together schedules, growth charts, and so forth that were scattered throughout the old edition.
The organization and chapter scopes are also inconsistent. For example, there is good material on reflexes in the section on Growth and Development in the chapter called "The First Month". Although this chapter is supposed to be on the first month, this section talks about some things that last for several months or even years and often without clear indication which time frame is being discussed (note: there are similar chapters for time frames up to five years). Taken literally, the book says that babies in their first month need "a balanced experience of freedom and limits." The first month? That is probably not what the author meant to say since a few sentences into the next paragraph the time frame three years is mentioned but where were the editors? Whoever let that go should be spanked. But it also brings up the questions: who is the author? who are the editors? There are several dozen contributors listed and seventeen people listed in a review or editorial capacity. But there are no attributions to who wrote what. This suggests that the book is written by committee and frankly it reads like it. Were it only a matter of prosaic style, that would be one thing. But there are many places (like the example above) where the meaning becomes ambiguous that should have been caught by a good editor. Maybe the problem is that it was edited by committee rather than being written by committee: the buck doesn't seem to stop anywhere. Regardless of how it got there, while it is "up to date" the extensive sections on development cannot hold a candle to the scholarship or practical wisdom of Babyhood either.
As others have commented this books tends to recommend consulting a pediatrician on almost everything including some things that seem pretty safe to comment on. For example, if you are wondering if formula that contains probiotics is safe for your child -- you should consult your pediatrician. OK, maybe there is more to it than meets the eye, in which case say something like "due to a lack of regulation in the probiotic industry, you should consult your pediatrician before choosing a specific formula." But our pediatrician (recommended by a professor of pediatric neurology as the most thorough pediatrician in Buffalo) gave us a basic probiotic formula as part of a starter kit at a prenatal visit without comment. So I have a sense that the style sheet says to end every discussion with "consult your pediatrician".
Some of the material is very good, but the writing is spotty. We do trust the factual advice -- and look up anything we can find in here to double check older sources for late breaking science, but it is hard to get enthusiastic about it. So three stars seems about right.