Even though there is medical terminology, the book is not heavy with it, and everything is well explained. I think there are pieces that will appeal to all parents - like what can you do when your infant has his first cold? What if there is a rattling in the chest at some point (oh yeah, I've totally called the nurse hotline at my pedi's office over this one before!)? What about things like RSV and pneumonia? Are air filters necessary for newborns? And what are the signs that my baby has stuck something up his nose? You'll also learn in depth about all those icky childhood viruses, and what you can do to try to minimize them (you may have the urge, like me, to wash your hands about 5 times when reading this chapter).
I was fascinated by some of the statistics in the book. In general, the book isn't laden with statistics, but the ones it does contain are intriguing. Did you know that over 50% of babies have an incident of wheezing in their first year (but only 1/3rd of those end up developing asthma)? 15% of kids have croup at least once before age five. And 1 in 5 SIDS deaths occur when a nonparent is caring for a child (so make sure those caregivers know that back for sleep is best).
In light of Cort's recent illness, I was most interested in the information on asthma. Dr. Shapiro covers some of the risk factors that can predispose a child to asthma, what a nebulizer is and how to best introduce it to your child, and the medications typically prescribed (and are they safe). Although we know that Cort has risk factors against him, my understanding after reading the book is that his wheezing attack could have been in relation to the cold he had, and he may not actually go on to develop asthma. So that is promising news.
The other part of the book that was near and dear to my heart was the section on the environment. Dr. Shapiro writes of the toxins, the air quality, and understanding how EPA regulations have changed things (for the better). I love that she has ideas for how to teach your children good environmental habits that will help them grow up to be eco-friendly adults!
My only critique of the book would be that if you are reading it cover to cover, you may find parts of it repetitive, as symptoms, assessments, and techniques are recovered with each age group. However, you can easily just skim over it if you've already read it once, and I do see that it is necessary for those readers who might skip over one age group and go directly to the relevant one.
If you want to learn more, you can check out Dr. Nina Shapiro's Website or follow her on twitter.
TLC Books and Dr. Shapiro are generously offering one copy of Take a Deep Breath to Two Bears Farm readers. To enter, just leave a comment, and be sure to include a valid email if it is not visible in your profile. Open to US Residents only. Winner to be chosen on 1/10/12 at noon by Random.org.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Take a Deep Breath: Clear the Air for Your Child to read and review. All of the opinions above are my own.