Grab the book! My child is sick!

My first reaction to the new AAP book My Child is Sick! ($14.95, available from the AAP) by pediatrician Barton D. Schmitt, M.D., was to wonder if offering information in print form to today’s generation of digital parents was still relevant.

Where do you go for medical information? It’s just second nature to most of us to answer any questions we have about anything, especially symptoms…by using Google.

In pre-internet days, which weren’t so long ago, really- we used books to guide us. Back then, I kept a little spiral bound book called “Do at Home or Call the Doctor,” in reach and checked it tons of times.

Published by a recently established Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the book listed symptoms in alpha order – anything from sore throats to spider bites – followed by a verdict: when to treat at home, when to call for an appointment, and when to call 911.

There were a few pages with blanks to fill with important numbers, so you could leave the book right next to the phone for a babysitter or the grandparents.

That’s probably a very good reason to stay old-school on this one and add “My Child is Sick!” to the arsenal of resources you need as a parent. A book is there for anyone whether or not there’s a wi-fi connection, in case the power goes out, or if you want to make sure there’s an easy-to-use reference written by a real pediatrician in the hands of the person taking care of your child.

Plus, I think it has to be easier to hold, comfort and soothe a child while flipping through a single book with the answers rather than combing through search engines on laptops or phones, hunting all over for credible answers.

The American Academy of Pediatricians sent me the “fever” chapter to review. Bullet points are popular on the web and everywhere else- and that’s the format here.

First up is a definition of fever, then a list of what causes fever, followed by when fever actually causes a child to cry. (that means pain, it says….until proven otherwise).

There’s even a section that debunks myths (no, teething does not cause a fever in case you or someone close to you still believes that) and notes on when a child should return to school after running a fever.

I’m thinking this book would be a great gift for new parents, or for new parents to give grandparents and caregivers. Any middle-schooler/teen who launches a babysitting career would find this book handy as well. Or any kid who shows interest in science or medicine, for that matter.

The member of our family who likely read our dog-eared copy of “Do it Home or Call the Doctor” more than anyone was my oldest daughter, after her younger brother was born. She picked it up all the time and found it fascinating.  She has two years of medical school under her belt today. You never know.




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