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M A Brandenburg. (Pp228; $14). Three Rivers Press, 2000. ISBN 0-6098-0412-X
Child safe is a book officially endorsed by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine written by a doctor who is a practicing emergency physician in a trauma emergency centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is written for the non-medical audience and draws on the author's considerable experience of trauma and illness in childhood. It is suggested reading for parents, grandparents, and carers of children.
The book is divided into two main sections termed “Non-age related injuries”, which includes cars, fires, and toys, and “Age related injuries” including infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and school age children and the types of injuries that specifically befall them. The third part is a list of American product recalls and child safety resources such as the Farm Safety Association.
Although a lot of the general points are made well, there are two main problems with the book. The first is that this is essentially a book for an American readership concerning American products and relating to the American healthcare system. Therefore, it would be of less value in Europe. The second is the negative tone throughout the book rendering any spontaneity or adventure in childrearing almost impossible.
It is a book to be read in conjunction with Swallows and Amazons to provide a balanced view of the dangers of childhood. While not wishing to minimise how great these are, it is also true that books such as these can scare parents, grandparents, and carers into timidity themselves and an inability for their charges to explore or have any fun.
In short, a book to read but possibly not to re-read, for every zealous parent.
This book is intended for carers and is not a required addition for a medical library or for the EMJ readership.