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by Abigail Van Buren

It's for Your Benefit That Earnings History Is Correct

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Pamela in Slidell, La.," who was upset about parents in her neighborhood allowing toddlers to play in the street, prompts me to write about my mother's experience with a young, supervised child -- me. When I was 4, we were going to the barber shop for my haircut. I was riding my tricycle; my mother was pushing my baby brother in a pram. We were on the sidewalk and came to a short driveway, when I thoughtlessly pedaled down it and straight into the path of a pickup truck. The elderly man who was driving couldn't stop in time. He hit me and both my legs were broken! The driver was devastated. I'm told he came to the hospital every day to see me. He told my parents he would never drive again.

The point being: Even SUPERVISED children can get hurt. A neighborhood street is never a place for small children to play. Too many things can go wrong. What happened to me occurred 54 years ago, when there were fewer vehicles on the roads, and even fewer teen-agers with their own cars racing up and down the streets. Those parents in Pamela's neighborhood would be sick and angry if one of those children were hurt -- even if it wasn't their fault.

I hope this letter isn't too long. I just had to comment. -- DOUGLAS M. PHILLIPS, FORT MYERS, FLA.

DEAR DOUGLAS: Too long? It's just the right length if it causes just one preoccupied parent to take a moment to see what his or her unsupervised child is doing.