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IN-LAWS FLUNK SAFETY TEST BY NOT BUCKLING GRANDSON

DEAR ABBY: My in-laws are wonderful grandparents to my 2 1/2-year-old son. They would do anything in the world for him except take the trouble to buckle him up in his car seat. This is a big problem for me because I depend on them to baby-sit quite often. I can't afford to pay a sitter, and there's no one else.

I've tried several times to stress the importance of car-seat safety, but they think it's unnecessary since it's only a 10-minute drive from their home to mine.My husband has been very firm with them, but twice I've caught them not using the car seat. I haven't told my husband because it would cause a family feud. His parents are very stubborn and don't take criticism very well.

Abby, I fear for my child's safety but don't know what to do. Please print this letter and stress the importance of buckling up small children. Perhaps they'll listen to you. Thank you! - WORRIED MOM

P.S. My in-laws have their own car seat. We purchased one for them so they would always have it handy when our son is in their care.

DEAR WORRIED MOM: You have good reason to worry. There is only one solution to your problem. Do not trust your in-laws to drive your child. Their excuse, "It's only a 10-minute drive from their home to yours," means nothing. A large percentage of all automobile accidents occur within a mile of one's home.

DEAR ABBY: I know that many people share this problem. If you answer in the paper it will help not only me but also others.

Last week I went to supper at a friend's home. The hostess served a food that I had never eaten before, and I found that I didn't enjoy it, so I pushed it to the side of my plate and finished the rest of my meal.

In the future, how can I avoid this situation without offending my hostess? - CANADIAN

DEAR CANADIAN: We all have our special likes and dislikes, so don't feel compelled to eat anything and everything that is served. Pushing food aside on your plate can be conspicuous, so next time, simply "rearrange it" and leave it.

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem I can't cope with. I am a 25-year-old woman dating a 28-year-old man. Stan and I have dated for a year, and he is the one man I would like to spend the rest of my life with. He says he loves me, but he is having trouble breaking away from his ex-girlfriend. She lives four hours away, and he has gone to see her several times since he told me he loves me. She has also been here several times that I know of for sure - I suspect several times I didn't know about. In short, I feel very insecure. Stan insists he is not carrying on behind my back, but I just can't believe him.

I am fed up with his long, unexplained absences, and his disappearing into a telephone booth to make a "quick" phone call that lasts 20 or 30 minutes. I can't handle this stress.

I have no desire to see any old boyfriends. I have let go of my past, but Stan hasn't.

All my friends tell me I am crazy for believing him. Am I? - INSECURE IN IOWA

DEAR INSECURE: You have good reason to be insecure. If you want to buy a peck of trouble, continue your romance with a man you can't trust. Tell Stan it's over and date others.