Wednesday, June 03, 2009

if your kid eats this book, everything will still be okay by Lara Zibners, M.D.

if your kid eats this book, everything will still be okay: How to Know if Your Child's Injury or Illness is Really an Emergency
by Lara Zibners, M.D.
Copyright 2009
Wellness Central
306 pages, incl. index

Babies and little kids can be really frustrating. They don't listen, they are emotionally labile, they can't be reasoned with or even bribed. It's a tough job, policing a kid who doesn't know any better but seems to be on a permanent path to self-destruction. Older toddlers might have a better understanding of what goes and what doesn't and might respond to outright bribery, but they are still egocentric little beasts, determined to battle for control of any situation.

Ain't that the truth. This book isn't a parenting how-to. I just liked that paragraph and the following two, in which the author (a pediatrician) says she'd "rather see you in the ER at 2 a.m. because you can't take it anymore than see another shaken baby or knocked-around toddler." Not something I would have ever thought to do -- run to the ER because the kid was driving me crazy -- but I did once shut myself into a walk-in closet, where I took deep breaths until I thought I could cope with a colicky baby who just wouldn't stop crying. Then, I went right back out and walked him around some more.

If your kid eats this book (the uncapitalized title really makes me want to lock myself in a closet, by the way) is specifically focused on babies and toddlers, beginning with a head-to-toe assessment of babies, all the little marks on them and their soft spot -- basically a once-over to let you know what's normal on the body and in the diaper (and what's not). From there, the author goes on to describe the way babies are supposed to act, eat, sleep and breathe. Then she goes back over various parts of the body and describes what could go wrong, when it's worth calling your doctor and when you should call 911.

My youngest is 17 so I'm long past mommying little ones, but I love reading health books and I had fun reflecting on all the things I wish I'd known when mine were little. My eldest, for example, has a "stork bite" on the back of his neck. I had no idea there was a name for that little red birthmark and it never upset me or worried me, but it's nice to know there's a name for it.

Of particular interest, I thought, is the info about what's dangerous and what's not (and who to call if you're unsure) if the baby ingests something, since all babies stick things in their mouths. Also, the info on fevers is really great. The one question I wish I could have asked the author is, "What do you mean, exactly, when you say cold medicines don't work?" Because I think what she's trying to say is that they don't cure colds and they're not good for babies, not that they don't at least help dry older people up and help you cope. I'd like to know. Of course, the meth addicts have made it a whole lot more difficult to get your mitts on a decongestant, so that's probably a pointless question.

What this book doesn't tell you: What to do while you're waiting for an ambulance. If you have a gray, blue or droopy child and have called 911, there's no hint what you should do before the paramedics arrive. For that, you'll need either a good course or a book on first aid -- and I personally think everyone should learn CPR and basic first aid, anyway, so this serves as a great reminder. Also, this book is specifically geared to the little bodies of babies and toddlers. It's not about older children or husbands who chop off the tip of their finger with a fancy knife in a thwarted attempt to open the little individual-sized Propel fitness water dry mix (my fun of the week -- bandaged the husband and then watched him bleed into a paper towel for three miles).

3.75/5 - Very good, but with limited application (very specifically babies and toddlers) and points off for not at least mentioning some basic first aid tips.

I'll be giving away 5 copies of this book, very soon. Watch for my drawing post, probably Thursday evening or Friday morning. And, here, have a baby:

Aw, look at the sweet little thing! Mama saw me snapping away (at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan) and very nicely held the baby up, for me. Little one should be about 2 1/2 years old, now.

I changed my mind about doing a mini-review of this book, primarily to keep the contest post small. Like you care, right? I'm just keeping you informed, here.


  1. Awww, cute baby! Don't need this book yet, but maybe one day!

  2. Sounds very interesting, although I don't have any children myself. There are bits in that paragraph you quoted that apply to pets, too, though, the little monsters.

  3. That's a very lovely Blog header :) I love the green!

    I don't have a baby yet :) So i think I can do w/o this book for now :) :)

  4. That is a cute picture. The books sounds like it is only half helpful but you never know till you read it. :)

  5. Andi,

    Well, not yet. But, I guess you could always sign up for the drawing (s/b up tonight or tomorrow) and save it, right?

    Library Girl,

    Good point. Pets can be demanding little monsters, for sure. I've been lucky -- I had one that was a nuisance but she was a puppy cat and followed me everywhere, very faithful little gal. Our one and only remaining cat is very laid-back. She never uses claws or teeth on the humans. Gotta love that. But, she does knock things off the dresser to get attention!


    Thank you! That's a Costa Rican bird. I thought he was so pretty.

    No babies, eh? Well, someday maybe. :)


    Since 911 experiences are pretty rare, I'd say the book is probably extremely helpful for everyday use. I just thought she could have added some very brief little boxes about what to do while you wait for the ambulance, if something tremendously bad happened.

  6. Funny thing about that. My daughter (13 months) does eat books. To this date 2 of her books she has bitten, chewed and swallowed. True story... Sounds like a book I need.

  7. No babies here either. Are you not telling us something? Are there little bambinos in your future? ;)

  8. Michelle,

    My children would have eaten our books if I hadn't put them up so high, I'm sure. Until they stopped ripping pages, I kept both kids in board and plastic books. When my eldest was small, I kept one room totally fenced off.

    Check back tomorrow. I should have that drawing post up by tonight or tomorrow morning. :)

  9. Carrie,

    No, not at all. In fact, I think part of the reason I read this is that I'm feeling the pang of an almost empty nest. It would be kind of nice to borrow somebody's baby for a while. My teenager is either working or asleep or playing on video games, so I'm kind of missing him!

  10. Wow, I think I really could have used this book when mine was small. I remember when she was just an infant freaking out about the color of her diaper contents once- I didn't know what they were supposed to look like, because all the kids I'd babysat as a teen were fed formula, and mine got breastfed- whoops, is that too much info, there...

    Anyhow, maybe the book doesn't address things like that but I'm sure there other stuff I've worried silly over just 'cause I didn't know!

  11. Jeane,

    I think I could have really used this one, too. It would be especially good to read before a baby arrives so new mommy can be forewarned about some basics and then refer back to it.

    Actually, the book does go into diaper contents -- what's normal for breast-fed vs. formala-fed babies and what's not, when to call the doctor, etc. It's really good for those things that worry new mommies.

  12. can't wait for the contest cause I could really use this one!

    We haven't had to visit the ER yet, knock wood, but I know our day will come. I suspect it's The Bug who'll send us there first.

  13. Lisa,

    I had that drawing post scheduled for 8:30 and it just showed up. Dash over and sign up! Don't forget to name the baby. :)

    You've been fortunate. My eldest never required a visit to the ER, but youngest got a fever when he was 10 days old and they put him through the medical mill -- and kept him in the hospital for 3 days. For that, I would have appreciated the book. It would have warned me what to expect.

  14. lol Maybe not a fun topic, but a fun title!

  15. Kailana,

    It's definitely a fun title! I like the cover, too, with that little one munching down on a book.


Thank you for visiting my blog! I use comment moderation because apparently my blog is a spam magnet. Don't worry. If you're not a robot, your comment will eventually show up and I will respond, with a few exceptions. If a comment smacks of advertising, contains a dubious link or is offensive, it will be deleted. I love to hear from real people! I'm a really chatty gal and I love your comments!