So one of the things I initially wanted to do with this blog was post parenting book reviews. Now that I have some time, here we go!
Dangerous or Safe? Which Foods,Medicines, and Chemicals Really Put Your Kids at Risk? by Cara Natterson, MD. ISBN 9781594630620. 2009.
This book covers some of the major things parents worry about - foods, lead, pesticides, plastics, diapers, sunscreens, vaccines, and medicines, to name a few. In each section, Natterson describes something that causes worry, uncovers facts and myths, and discusses what she thinks as a physician and a parent. Each chapter is organized thusly: "What is the Question", "What is the Data", "What is the Bottom Line", and "What's in My Home" (meaning, what is Natterson's personal opinion).
I was all set to really like this book - I think it's very timely, and as a librarian, I am well aware that there is a lot of misinformation out there online. As a parent, I am well aware that there are a million and one things to be worried about! But while I appreciated her practical writing style, and really liked that she covered so many timely topics, some of her personal opinions left me cold. For example, I really took issue with her statement in the chapter on food allergies, where she states that many studies and the AAP say that peanut exposure in the womb or early on does not increase the likelihood of peanut allergy... and then finishes by saying she wouldn't eat peanuts while pregnant just to put her mind at ease. Really? While she is certainly entitled to her opinion, (that's not what I'm taking issue with) I felt it was not helpful to be so ambiguous in a book that is supposed to cut to the truth. She does something similar when discussing probiotics, she discusses their use, why one would need them, what they're all about. But then she ends it by saying, "I never remember them until my kids are in the throes of vomiting and diarrhea. Honestly, even I have no idea if they work". Really? I think there is a lot of research out there that they do work for certain health conditions, and truly, her statement was puzzling - if you don't think they work, why do you take them, and more to the point, why put them in your book? It was a little off-putting. Just a disappointment, because when I started the book, I was eager to read what she had to say as a doctor and a mom... but her bland or skewed statements were a let-down.
That aside, this would be a good book to consult as a parent if you are interested in learning more about environmental issues that affect children. I would just take some of her "What's in My House" statements with a grain of salt.