Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5.

Steven P. Shelov, M.D. et al. (Eds.) American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014.

 

 

This a great book. It covers all the bases: preventing accidents, dealing with disease, and the need for early affective education. A mass of priceless information all in one place. Caring for babies and young children is the most important responsibility in life, not a casual hobby for parental entertainment, and the authors succeed in impressing that fact on adults who take the time to read the text carefully. This book would a bargain at any price, and should be required reading for any parent or other adult who cares for children.

However, like the previous edition this book is slightly flawed by politically correct but scientifically unwarranted mental health claims and recommendations on the topic of child sex abuse, claims that assume knowledge of the development of human sexuality - knowledge we simply don't possess. It is clear that once a child has been terrorized against sexuality then a subsequent sexual experience will probably be upsetting to the child, if not highly upsetting. But not all children are so terrorized, and there is not the slightest shred of valid evidence that weak retrospective studies of sex abuse using biased population samples and based on unreliable self-report should be generalized to most children.

Quite the contrary, the best evidence does not support the politically correct belief that child sex abuse is usually seriously harmful,* but this book ignores that evidence completely and instead urges parents to seek "counseling" from "qualified" mental health professionals whenever a child reports a sexual experience. Where is the evidence that such "counseling" has ever been proven safe or effective by medical standards? There is no such evidence.

This new edition has lengthened its recommendation for exclusive breastfeeding. While the 5th edition said "We recommend exclusively breastfeeding for a minimum of four months, but preferably for six months..." the new edition says "We recommend exclusively breastfeeding for about the first six months..." which is consistent with the recommendation of the World Health Organization.

The AAP is continuing its recommendation that "all children should wear sunscreen, hats and protective clothing when outdoors" and hence need Vitamin D $upplements. However, I know of no valid evidence for such a blanket condemnation of natural light as a source of free Vitamin D production by the skin. The danger of exposure to UV radiation depends on many factors, including the particular child, time of day, season, current atmospheric conditions, altitude and latitude, etc.

The language is smooth and easy to read as in the previous (5th) edition, as well as in the second volume of the series "Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12" (1999), but there is still a long way to go before ancient psycho-mysticism catches up to modern evidence-based medicine. I hope that the next editions of these two important volumes will be more skeptical and restrained in their unscientific enthusiasm for the child sex abuse rescue business.

* Rind, Bruce et al.  A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples (Psychological Bulletin 1998, Vol. 124, No. 1, 22-53); and Rind et al. The Validity and Appropriateness of Methods, Analyses, and Conclusions in Rind et al. (1998): A Rebuttal of Victimological Critique From Ondersma et al. (2001) and Dallam et al. (2001) (Psychological Bulletin 2001. Vol. 127. No. 6. 734-758). See also: Rind, Bruce, et al. Science versus orthodoxy: Anatomy of the congressional condemnation of a scientific article and reflections on remedies for future ideological attacks. Applied & Preventive Psychology 9:211-225 (2000). Cambridge University Press.

 

Note: My review of this book on Amazon was the first and as of a month later the only serious review. But even though I gave the book four stars, Amazon pushed my review down to the bottom under the later one-line reviews and off the main page completely!

 

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