The Childwise Catalog

Preschoolers are one of the biggest consumer groups in America. Before a child passes his first birthday, his parents will have purchased more than two thousand disposable diapers and myriad items such as a stroller, car seat, crib and mattress, clothes, and toys. In addition to deciding which brand is the best buy, parents must also be aware of the potential safety hazards of many of these products.

The first three chapters evaluate equipment, clothing, and toys arranged by age of the child and then by product. For each product there is a statement summarizing the choices available; for example, under car seats four different styles are discussed. This is followed by a list of things to keep in mind when choosing the product, and safety tips; where appropriate, unsafe products, including brand names, manufacturers, model numbers, and the safety hazard, are listed. For some-- but not all--products, there is a list of recommended brands.

Chapters four through seven cover topics such as child care, health care, travel, and food and drugs. Chapters eight and nine cover home safety, with a room-by-room list of potential dangers, and information on how to protect your child from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and kidnaping. The book concludes with a list of organizations that parents may want to contact.

The authors are well qualified to help parents make these consumer decisions: Jack Gillis is Director of Public Affairs of the Consumer Federation of America, and Mary Ellen R. Fise is Director of Product Safety for the Federation. The book also carries the Federation’s endorsement. Among the many purchases that parents make, this book could be one of the wisest. It deserves a place on the bookshelf next to Dr. Spock in every American home.