DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was eating a meal in a local mom-and-pop restaurant when I noticed a man feeding a baby from a bottle. Also at the table were three older boys and a woman, who I took to be the man's older sons and wife.
It was obvious to me, as a nurse and a mother, that the man did not know how to properly burp the baby. None of the other people at the table said anything to him about this. I wanted to go up to the table and explain how you properly burp a baby but I did not, for fear of rejection.
Should I have done so? Can you please tell me what kinds of words I should have used to politely approach this issue in order to ensure the man's and family's cooperation?
GENTLE READER: Since the answer to your first question is "no," Miss Manners will excuse herself from finding a polite approach for committing a rude act.
When someone is in genuine danger, a stranger can --indeed, should -- intervene. But this liberty does not extend to correcting routine parental ineptitude. The man's three older sons provide direct evidence that his burping technique, even if flawed, is not fatal.