Thinking she's the first to spot the fire, the first to take on society, Soman raises a shrill alarm to ""shock"" us into action -- but not before she castigates us for being child abusers and neglecters, insists that the ""beast in all of us is only a history page away from Buchenwald,"" that millions of us take delight in beating up on kids, then adds with crusading zeal ""there can be no more honorable calling, no more vital work, no more grand design"" than to save the children. Who wouldn't sign on immediately? But. . . yes, yes, we've already heard about dangerous toys, and, no, consumer groups have not been ""strangely silent"" as she asserts; if kids die riding unsafe bicycles on bad roads -- so do adults and in unsafe automobiles; if they drown in swimming pools (an industry ""without a hint of social responsibility"") -- they do in oceans, too; children are electrocuted playing with defective appliances, poisoned by their family's medicine chests, often emotionally harmed by divorce, burned by matches. Soman's book reads like the daily log at a county morgue. And it's impossible to quibble with her facts, or not to respond with overwhelming compassion -- but what of parental supervision and responsibility? Can legislation and consumer action take away all of life's hazards, solve all the problems? Kids, after all, will be kids even though, tragic to say, sometimes it kills them.