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You will likely approach your child's toddler years with more comfort than you had in the first year of life. Caretaking is easier because you know your child. You have fallen into the groove of parenting. Yet the need for clear, concise advice does not end with your child's first birthday.
Just when a rhythm establishes itself, it is time for socialization. Toddler groups and then preschool experiences are critically important for your child's cognitive and social development, but with these comes a series of new medical challenges - constant colds, skin infestations, lice. This is why I call this my "gross book." One of my goals is to cover all those illnesses and ailments that you need to know about but aresometimes too squeamish to ask about. While there is a lot in this book that is not at all disgusting, there is an equal amount that, well, is.... When I was writing this book, I would have two screens open on my computer at any given time. I would flip between Microsoft Word, with its black-and-white text, and my staple Internet reference sites. People would glance over my shoulder as they often do in coffeehouses packed with writers on computers. I knew they were looking at my screen from the gasps I would hear as I clicked on to a giant picture of a hair louse or as I looked up yet another scaly, pustulating rash on Dermatlas.
The format follows that of Your Newborn. Each chapter focuses on a part of the body. Within each chapter are sections about the most common ailments affecting toddlers. These are broken into distinct parts: What is happening inside my child's body? What can I do? When does my doctor need to be involved? What tests need to be done, and what do the results mean? What are the treatments? What are the possible complications? This framework provides enough information to understand the nature of your child's problem and the solutions that may be suggested. Unique to Your Toddler, however, is the detailed illustration at the start of each chapter depicting the featured body part. The illustration can be used as a point of reference as you read through sections in the chapter.
Throughout the text are medical terms written in bold italics. These are meant to help you identify those catchphrases you may hear in the hospital or doctor's office.
At the back of the book, there are chapters dedicated to lab tests, vaccines, and developmental milestones. These subjects generate a significant amount of debate among parents. The primers included here are meant to provide background information so that you may ask your pediatrician about these topics in an informed way.
Perhaps the most important part of each section is the list of Web sites at the end of the text. The Internet has fundamentally changed the way medicine is practiced. Parents use it in an effort to collect information and help their child. But researching your own child's particular ailment online is simply ludicrous. There is no way to tell what information is valid and what is preposterous. Some of the prettiest Web sites have some of the most misleading information. This is why every section of the book has Web-site addresses listed at the end. If you need more information, you can go to these sites rather than to a general search engine. I have chosen them because they contain more detailed information or pictures, presented in a way that a nonmedical person can understand. Most important, the information is accurate.
The topics in this book were chosen by sheer volume: these are the issues that I see in my office every day. There are many topics not included in this book, namely uncommon illnesses and complex subspecialty issues. Hopefully, the Web sites referenced in each chapter will help direct you if your child has a problem that is not discussed explicitly.
While the book technically covers the toddler years - approximately ages one to four - many of the topics discussed occur in younger or older children. I hope you find Your Toddler: Head to Toe a helpful springboard of information.
Excerpted from Your Toddler: Head to Toe by Cara Familian Natterson Copyright © 2006 by Cara Familian Natterson. Excerpted by permission.
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