Sunday, September 9, 2007

BOOK:"Take Your Pediatrician With You: Keeping Your Child Healthy at Home and on the Road," by Christopher S. Ryder (Johns Hopkins, $16)

TARGET AUDIENCE: Day-trippers and world adventurers, with kids in tow.

Heading down the highway with your brood for a vacation and, from the back seat, your 4-year-old complains that her ear really hurts? Lots of us have been there. Ditto for ill-timed discoveries of the mysterious rashes, fevers, bee stings and minor and major mishaps that are standard parts of the whole kiddie package but can throw you when you're far from home.

While Pennsylvania pediatrician and inveterate traveler Christopher Ryder can't cover every eventuality, he makes a formidable enough effort to convince you his book might be worth packing. The well-indexed, accessibly written little handbook covers ailments from traveler's diarrhea to malaria. Ryder tells you what a medical kit for small children should contain, complete with dosages for common medications. Some sections (such as on venomous and stinging marine animals) may offer more detail about risks than you care to know. But his first-aid tips are just as rich.

The black-and-white illustrations are a bit of a letdown: This means, when it comes to poison ivy, for example, you'll get good counsel on prevention (cover up, use Ivy Block) and treatment (Zanfel can help remove the resin from skin), but don't count on using the basic drawing to confirm the identity of plant leaves.

-- Susan Morse

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