Posted November 5, 2013 by Amy in Books

The A to Z of Children’s Health (Family Fiends) Review


It’s that time of year again. Cold weather is here, and with it comes all the various sniffles, sneezes, and other ailments that result from spending a majority of your time indoors. Whether you’re wondering about what constitutes a trip to the doctor, symptoms of something more serious, or how to handle things at home, The A to Z of Children’s Health is a “parent’s guide from birth to 10 years” that will keep you informed – and keep your kids healthy.

As the title suggests, The A to Z of Children’s Health is set up in a handy A to Z format. It’s not a book meant to be read from cover to cover. Rather, it’s a reference volume that can be easily consulted for everything from the common cold to breastfeeding to leukemia, with each section giving parents a rundown of symptoms, related conditions, red flags to watch for, and standard treatments. As a parent who has dealt with more than her fair share of doctor visits with my own children, it’s gratifying to see a single volume that lays everything out in one place – and in easy to understand terminology.

Basically, you look up a symptom your child is experiencing (or an issue you suspect, such as ADHD or autism). If we turn to headaches, for instance, you’ll get a comprehensive discussion of the topic, beginning with “What can I do?”, which gives tips to avoid or reduce headaches. It the moves on to a case study or a typical child with that issue, followed by sections on when it is appropriate to contact the doctor, and what red flags to look for (symptoms which indicate an emergency). All of this is followed by tables showing what causes headaches, and what sorts of treatments are typically used. Most of the sections in the book follow this same format, with some being long, if more discussion is needed, or others – like hiccups – being rather short.

The book is filled with tables and illustrations that help to pinpoint what you are dealing with (things like warts and diaper rashes show exactly what you need to look for), and also make the book interesting and easy to follow. It’s a bit like sitting down and discussing an issue with a great pediatrician – it’s valuable information, presented thoroughly and skillfully to keep you in touch with what is going on. It’s written by doctors from the highly respected Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, who have used their combined experience to pull together a handbook of health that is sure to be a must have for parents for years to come.


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)