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DEAR ABBY: My son and daughter-in-law have a golf cart they allow their 6-year-old daughter, "Madison," to drive. I feel that she is too little to control the vehicle. She can barely see above the steering wheel.

This is way too large and powerful a vehicle for the little girl. There is a warning on the dashboard stating that a rollover could cause severe injury or death.

It tears me up that this is allowed, when I imagine the potential risk that the parents are courting. They assure me that they have taught Madison how to operate the vehicle safely, but I feel a 6-year-old is not capable or skilled enough to handle an unexpected driving situation.

My son and daughter-in-law are excellent and caring parents in every other way. However, on this issue they are in denial about the potential hazards, coupled with the reality of age-appropriate challenges.

When I speak up, I am met with rolled eyes and a curt reminder to mind my own business. Even my husband refuses to listen. I feel isolated in this situation. My husband offered no support when I expressed my concern and told me to stay out of it. I just want to avoid a potential tragedy without being "the meddling mother-in-law." Am I overreacting? -- SERIOUSLY WORRIED IN FLORIDA

DEAR SERIOUSLY WORRIED: You do not appear to be a "Nervous Nellie" to me. I don't know the law in Florida, but in my opinion this could be considered child endangerment. Your granddaughter may be the most well-coordinated child in the world, but accidents do happen, and golf carts should not be confused with go-carts, which are meant for children.

Because you cannot get your son's and husband's attention any other way, place a call to your insurance agent, asking about the potential liability should your grandchild collide with another vehicle -- or, God forbid, a human being -- while operating the golf cart. The financial liabilities could be considerable, putting aside the possible injury to your granddaughter or others. It could be the wake-up call they need.

DEAR ABBY: I have been going to the same dentist for more than 20 years and have a good relationship with him. I recommended two patients to him, and both of them later told me they were very unhappy with the work he did and had to see other dentists to have the work redone.

This caused me to question his work on me, so I decided to go to another dentist for a consultation. The other dentist is highly esteemed and not a competitor because her practice is in another city. Both she and her partner concluded that the work done by my dentist was sub-par and unacceptable and reviewed the reasons with me.

Do I need to explain to my dentist why I am leaving his practice? Or do I just not schedule any more appointments? -- DENTALLY CHALLENGED IN D.C.

DEAR DENTALLY CHALLENGED: Do not schedule any more appointments with this person. If he calls to ask why, then you can explain your reasons.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: If you're partying tonight, please don't drink and drive. Have a designated driver.

A happy, healthy and prosperous 2007 to each and every one of you! -- Love, ABBY

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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