DEAR ABBY: I have seen several letters in your column concerning the problem of curfews imposed upon college students when they visit home. My parents and I have found a good way to handle this situation. When I go home, I consider myself a guest in my parents' house, and I try to be as considerate as possible.
My parents realize that it would be silly to impose a curfew on an adult; therefore, before I go out for an evening, I tell them with whom I am going, where I plan to be and approximately what time I'll be home. If I'm out later than I had expected to be, I always call home so my parents won't worry. This gives me the freedom to go out and stay as long as I wish without coming home to worried and angry parents.The keys here are consideration and trust. I am a college senior now, and this system has worked for four years. If you pass this along to your readers, it may help others. - JEAN IN URBANA, ILL.
DEAR JEAN: Your consideration and trust policy should work in every home. When parents know where their children are, regardless of the hour, they are far less likely to worry. (They may not approve, but at least they won't be walking the floors and wondering if their kids are in a ditch or, God forbid, in a morgue.) More students should follow your lead.
DEAR ABBY: The letter about the father who considered leaving his very young child alone for a "few minutes" while he ran out to pick up a pizza prompts this letter. First, thank you, Abby, for saying that no one should leave a child unattended for even five minutes.
Here's my story: I am the mother of two daughters, ages 1 and 2. My 2-year-old was sleeping when I had to drive to town to do a few errands. I put her pillow and sleeping bag in the backseat to let her sleep, and took my 1-year-old into the store with me just to pay a bill and run back out. There were a few people ahead of me, so I waited in line for maybe five minutes. Then someone yelled, "There's a car on fire with a child inside!"
I ran outside, and saw it was my car! The door was locked and all the windows were rolled up. The car was filled with smoke. I unlocked the car and felt around in the backseat - screaming my daughter's name. I couldn't see her with all that smoke. I could hardly breathe. She was backed into the corner. I finally grabbed her and pulled her out. Her hair was singed, and she was black and coughing and crying. Never in my life have I felt so guilty, knowing that my child could have died because of my neglect.
An ambulance arrived and took her to a hospital. She was placed in an oxygen tent and treated for smoke inhalation. Thank God, she lived! Abby, the only part of my car that didn't burn was that one corner I pulled my child out of.
I learned a lesson I will never forget. Please print this as a warning to others who may be tempted to leave a child unattended for "only a few minutes." - A MIRACLE IN ANOKA, MINN.
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