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Dear Annie: Older woman looking for love

Dear Annie: I am a 64-year-old woman. Trying to date seems more difficult as I get older. Seems like most men only want one thing or younger women. I have tried online dating sites with not much luck. I live in a small town, and there aren’t many single men. Do you have any suggestions on where to meet a good man? — L.C.

Dear L.C.: To the men who will only date younger women, good riddance. They’ve done you a favor by disqualifying themselves. Now, on meeting men who are deserving of your time and attention: It’s fantastic that you’ve dabbled in online dating, and you should leave your accounts open on those sites.

That said, I think you should also venture out and try some new hobbies offline, e.g., tennis lessons, a book club, classes at a local community college or library, a jogging group, a volunteer position, or anything else that you might want to experience. Often it’s when we focus on our own growth that we end up meeting someone special.

Dear Annie: In response to “Worried about Neighbors’ Infant,” I’m writing to inform your readers about an important car seat safety issue during these cold winter months.

The writer was concerned about her neighbors’ taking their hatless child to and from the car in bad weather. In your well-meaning response to the woman, you stated an assumption that the child was wearing a jacket and therefore probably unlikely to freeze during the brief trip.

Children should never, ever be put into a car seat in a thick or puffy coat. No matter how tightly you adjust the straps, in an accident, the coat’s layers will compress, creating excess slack in the straps and compromising the car seat’s ability to safely restrain the child.

Car seat technicians also strongly advise against the use of anything that adds a thick layer between your child and their seat or straps or alters the positioning of the straps, the child’s body or head. This includes aftermarket car seat accessories such as head positioners or shoulder strap cushions, and all forms of bunting, sleep sacks or other attire that adds a puffy layer between the child’s body and the car seat or straps.

Car seats are highly regulated, precisely engineered and rigorously tested to work exactly per manufacturer specifications, with no add-ons. No matter how these items are marketed and how comfy they may look, they will compromise the car seat’s ability to protect your child in a crash. Always read your car seat manual and follow its instructions.

The safest way to transport your child during chilly winter months is to put them into the car seat (in a prewarmed car, if possible) wearing normal clothing and no more than an extra fleece layer or lightweight jacket. The child’s coat can be placed on them backward in the car seat or a blanket can be kept in the car if parents are concerned they will be too cold.

My husband and I found that once we unstrapped our son from his car seat, it usually took longer to fuss about putting on his coat while standing next to the car in the cold than it did to just briskly carry or walk him the short distance into the house or building we were visiting.

Over the years, we may have suffered some odd glares from older people accustomed to children being bundled, but safety and common sense came first. The writer’s suggestion of a warm hat may be the coziest — and safest — route after all. — Megan L.

Dear Megan: I’ve looked into this more, and you are absolutely right. Thanks for helping to keep our children safe.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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