DEAR ABBY: A prominent fire chief in Michigan asked you to advise your readers against installing double deadbolt locks.

Well, as a security consultant, may I say there are two sides to that issue! Since families are much more likely to be burglarized than to experience a late-night fire, the additional security provided by a deadbolt lock is the reason those locks are such big sellers.Although I agree that the use of these locks is hazardous for hotels, hospitals and nursing homes, there are two good security-related reasons for using them in single-family residences.

The first: In doors that have glass or plastic inserts (or panels) with standard locks, a burglar can simply break the glass or push the plastic out, stick his hand inside the door and unlock the latch. He can then open the door and enter the house. A double deadbolt lock prevents this.

Second: There are cases where a team of burglars with large trucks or vans have carried away all the furniture, major appliances and even the light fixtures!

However, when a homeowner uses a double deadbolt lock, a burglar can steal only what he can remove through the windows. This would be time-consuming, attract attention and appear suspicious to the neighbors or police.

When using a double deadbolt lock, the rule is: Always lock your door and keep the key in the lock when you are home. If you follow this rule, you will be safe and secure. - "MAC" MC CAULY IN COPPERAS COVE, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: I was pleased with your response to "Betty's Confidante." Sexually active teens need to know how dangerous sex can be, even when proper precautions are taken.

In Virginia, minors are entitled to information about birth control, pregnancy, prenatal care and sexually transmitted diseases without their parents' consent or knowledge. Our health clinics and private physicians are required by law to respect a minor's privacy with regard to these sensitive issues. I am an obstetrician-gynecologist, and anything told to me by a teen regarding sex may not be shared with a parent without the teen's permission.

The best family situations I have seen are those in which love allows parents and teens to discuss sexual activity without fear of punishment. Although parents may not like the fact that a daughter or son is sexually active, being judgmental and punitive only alienates an adolescent and makes it that much harder to protect him or her from the many dangers of unprotected sex. Value judgments must be put aside.

I would encourage any parents or adolescents who have questions about the availability of health care for sexually related problems to call their local city or county health department.

God bless you, Abby. And God bless the children. - MATTHEW J. WERNER, M.D., CULPEPER, VA.

DEAR DR. WERNER: Thanks. I needed those kind, reassuring words. I came in for copious criticism for suggesting that teens who need answers for questions about sex should go to Planned Parenthood if they don't feel comfortable asking their parents. Lucky are the people who live in Virginia, and the other states whose laws protect a minor's right to privacy.

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