Dear Dr. Tightwad - Recently, I was standing in line at the grocery store when I realized I was short on cash.

While I waited I sent my 11-year-old daughter to the cash machine in another part of the store. She got the money and everything was fine, but now I'm having second thoughts.Should I have given her my ATM card ID number?

Answer - If you're asking for reassurance that your daughter won't clean out your account, Dr. T is happy to oblige. Most kids can be trusted.

But there are no guarantees, and occasionally you hear a true tale of horror.

Take the case of the 13-year-old who withdrew $1,500 from his parents' account before they finally caught on - when their checks started bouncing.

The boy had withdrawn the money in small increments - nothing bigger than $100 - and spent much of it treating his buddies to video games and pizza.

His parents blamed the incident partly on youthful thoughtlessness and partly on themselves for divulging their personal identification number without ever explaining the connection between an automated teller machine and their checking account.

No, they didn't throttle their son. But they did exact a stiff penalty. He had to get a job and repay the $1,500, along with an additional $1,500 (which his parents are using to fund a savings account for him).

He was also grounded for several months, giving him plenty of time to sit down with his folks and watch them pay the household bills.

In this case, legal liability for the withdrawals wasn't an issue. The parents had disclosed their PIN, so the transactions were considered authorized.

If your child were to get access to your card and PIN without your knowledge, you could limit your liability by claiming the card was stolen. But you would have to be willing to let the bank prosecute your child.

It won't come to that, however, if parents start explaining early to their children that a cash machine doesn't actually print money.

And next time you're at the supermarket, why not ask your child to stand in the checkout line while you get the cash.