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Paediatric Toxicology. Handbook of Poisoning in Children. Edited by Nicola Bates, Nicholas Edwards, Janice Roper, and Glyn Volans. (Pp 411). Macmillan, 1997. ISBN 0333 60951 4.
The National Poisons Information Service (London) is an exceptional source of information for the management of children with acute poisoning episodes. Two of the editors of this book are based at the above unit. The book provides valuable information in relation to the management of specific poisoning agents. These vary from widely used medicines to household products, ranging from disinfectants to nail varnish remover. It also includes information about plants, snakes, and luminous necklaces! As the book covers such a wide range it cannot/does not act as a textbook. Its aim is to be a practical handbook to aid health care professionals involved in individual care of paediatric poisoning. The book provides clear information about clinical effects and treatment. It also has key points in bold printing making the text more readable. It also provides adequate references for each individual poison.
Its biggest problem is what role does the book specifically have? It is not intended to replace contact with poison information centres, which is essential in all cases of suspected drug toxicity to ensure that the most up to date advice is available. The greatest value of the book would therefore be in relation to giving reassuring advice about poisons which are unlikely to result in any significant clinical problems. From this point of view the book would be valuable either in the accident and emergency department or, alternatively, in the hospital pharmacy drug information library—assuming that there is an out of hours service.