When Food Could Be Lethal

CARING FOR YOUR CHILD WITH

SEVERE FOOD ALLERGIES

Emotional Support and Practical Advice from a Parent Who's Been There

By Lisa Cipriano Collins

John Wiley & Sons Inc., 115 pages, $10.95

Life can be extremely difficult for parents of children with serious food allergies. On a daily basis, these parents must balance their growing child's independence with fear that a bite of the wrong food could trigger a medical emergency. As the author notes: "When your child runs the risk of dying if he or she eats the wrong food--or is even exposed to it--a normal childhood seems out of the question."

This book is a great aid to those parents, helping them create a normal childhood for their son or daughter. The author is a marriage and family therapist whose son was diagnosed with severe peanut and tree-nut allergies. She writes about her own experience as well as those of other parents and provides medical research.

Topics include how to create a safe home; how to cope with traveling, eating out, school meals and snacks; and how to help a child learn to take responsibility and gain control of the allergy. The book also contains a number of resources that will help families obtain the help and information they need.

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NOW I KNOW BETTER, TOO

Kids Tell Kids About Safety

Edited by Drs. Douglas Baker, Thomas Kennedy and Kevin Smothers.

Yale New Haven-Health, 111 pages, $7.95

This is a sequel to the successful 1996 book "Now I Know Better" in which 70 Connecticut children wrote essays for other kids on safety and accident prevention. The book was so successful that the authors decided to offer a second version. In this volume, 78 essays were selected from 1,200 submissions, including youthful words of wisdom on baseball, horse riding, drugs, guns and trampolines.

The idea is that kids will listen to other kids. The essays have that sincere, cut-to-the-chase approach that kids use when speaking from the heart. No doubt, children who read the book will be in awe of the myriad of gory wounds and hair-raising escapes that the authors, mostly ages 12 to 14, relate. The editors, all doctors, occasionally add their observations.

For parents concerned that their kids are turning a deaf ear to safety warnings, this book may be the way to catch their attention.

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VACCINES

What Every Parent Should Know

By Drs. Paul A. Offit and Louis M. Bell.

IDG Books, 234 pages, $12.95

This is a revised edition on a topic that cries out for frequent updates. The number of vaccines recommended for babies and children today is overwhelming, and the issue has been clouded by concerns about safety. The authors are experts in pediatric infectious disease and are strong proponents of routine vaccination of all children. However, they provide an evenhanded approach to the topic and make the sensible argument that the risks of infectious disease outweigh the risks from vaccines.

The authors also include a discussion on how vaccines are approved for use, how and why certain vaccines are recommended, and why individuals can refuse them. The rest of the book is devoted to descriptions of various vaccines, including information on what the vaccine does, its safety record and possible side effects.

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