DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are expecting our first child in two months. I have been reading parent and child safety books, and several topics have come up that concern me.
My in-laws live in an old house that appears to be structurally unsafe. It has unusually steep stairwells, peeling paint on the walls that I fear may be lead-based -- and over all, the place is filthy. They also have a dog who has a history of biting people -- myself and my husband included.
Once, a few years ago, my husband and I stayed in a motel rather than with them, and we still haven't heard the end of it!
I am concerned for our child's safety. Is there a nice way of telling my in-laws that we will not be bringing our new baby to their home for visits? (Please don't use my name or location. I have enough grief from my mother-in-law as it is.) -- DISTRESSED FIRST-TIME MOM
DEAR DISTRESSED: There is no "nice" way to tell your in-laws that their house is a health hazard and their beloved pet is a menace. Express your concerns, advise them of your decision, and don't back down.
Your baby's welfare must come first -- and it's your responsibility as parents to protect your child. Invite them to visit the baby in YOUR home -- sans the dog.