DEAR ABBY: My in-laws are fabulous. They love me and think the world of our 2-year-old daughter, "Hayley." They do anything to support us.
Recently, they asked to take Hayley overnight and drive a number of places with her. My concern is the driving part. My father-in-law doesn't believe in car seats.
On a few occasions he has asked me to just hop in the car with Hayley without a car seat. I refused. Another time, they had a circa-1980 car seat and asked to take Hayley with them to church. When I went to put her in the seat, the buckles wouldn't work. When I reached over to the other side, the seat fell over. It wasn't even strapped in!
Now for my biggest fear: My mother-in-law is a notorious distracted driver -- she applies makeup, eats food, talks on the phone and texts. I am not comfortable with her taking Hayley in the car with her.
How do I approach this with them? I don't want to harm our relationship, and I'd like them to spend time with their grandchild independently. But I can't put my daughter in a dangerous situation. Any thoughts would be appreciated. -- FEARFUL MOM IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR FEARFUL MOM: Your fears appear to be well founded. Your "fabulous" in-laws cannot be trusted to transport your little girl.
My first thought was that you and your husband could buy them a car seat and have it installed. But if you can't trust your father-in-law to use it, or your mother-in-law to devote her full attention to her driving when her grandchild is in the car, then the child's safety must come first. As a mother, your job is to be conscientious, even if it makes you less popular. And your husband should back you up 100 percent.