DEAR ABBY: I am a plastic surgeon and a very busy one, but I am not too busy to write this letter asking you to PLEASE implore parents (especially mothers) to NEVER -– and I repeat, NEVER -– allow their children to stand up in either the front or back of an automobile while it is in motion.
These last few weeks I have been called upon to make some heartbreaking repairs on some very beautiful little faces that had been pitifully mutilated from accidents that came about in just this way. All it takes is one abrupt stop for a youngster's face to meet a windshield, dashboard or the back of the front seat with such force as to break face bones, knock out teeth and cause disfiguring injuries.
Today I nearly wept while I worked with an eye surgeon for nearly two hours in a vain effort to save the eye of a little boy who had been standing in the back of his mother's car when she slammed on her brakes. (The child's eye was gouged out as he struck the ashtray.) If you will print this, I'll be most grateful. -– AN M.D. IN L.A.
DEAR L.A.M.D.: It's appalling that a child should be maimed for life because of the carelessness of his or her parent. I hope your warning will remind parents of the importance of buckling up their children before putting a key in the ignition.
DEAR ABBY: In response to the person who wrote to suggest that a cellular phone would be a good safety item for hikers and campers who are lost in the woods –- I beg to differ! A cell phone is never to be relied upon to help rescuers find you. There are too many areas that don't have service, or because of the terrain, there isn't any cellular reception.
One should never go into the wilderness without a buddy, or without telling someone where you plan to go and approximately when you will return. Of course, a short orienting course in map and compass skills can also prove to be invaluable.
Children should never be allowed to run ahead down the trail. One never knows what kinds of predators are hungry and waiting for that meal opportunity to come along. And yes, wearing a whistle IS standard operating procedure. –- STAYING FOUND IN COLORADO
DEAR STAYING FOUND: You are not the only reader who was kind enough to point out to me -– the quintessential "city girl" -– that in a wilderness area a cell phone might be useless.
DEAR ABBY: Regarding the woman who asked her husband whether he would save his mother or her in a boating accident, everyone missed the boat in their answers.
He should have said: "I would be devastated at having to make such a choice! I love you both so much I would never let either of you ride in a boat unless you were wearing a life jacket!" –- RICK LOOMIS, SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.
DEAR RICK: You are an angel with water wings, and you're absolutely right! What wouldn't we give for 20/20 hindsight!
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600