If you do not already subscribe to Family Safety, perhaps you should. $1

The magazine is published four times a year by the National Safety Council, 444 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. The annual subscription price is $5.95.

The major articles in the current issue are: Safety Games People Play; What Happens in a Head-on Collision; Should Kids Lift Weights? (last year 31,512 kids were hurt so badly they required hospital treatment); The Ways People Fall; Coping With Winter Driving; Expectant Mothers and Unexpected Mishaps; Don't You Believe It (which debunks popular beiefs about many things that are related to personal safety); What's Behind the UL Label?; and Occasional Drinker, Hazardous Driver (which tells of a scientific study that found moderate "social" drinkers a greater hazard than all-out drunks). There are also several pages of brief reports and reminders, and a humor page.

Each time I read Family Safety, I am impressed anew with its effectiveness in teaching me or reminding me to act prudently. An example that every parent will appreciate apears on the back cover of this issue. It consists of a picture, a caption and about three dozen words of text. But what an important message those few words convey!

The picture shows happy, well-scrubbed teen-agers socializiang inside and outside a restaruant that is obviously their regular hangout. The caption on the picture is "Endangered Species." The text, in its entirety, is: "Will these young people get home without accident? Last year over five million teen-age drivers -- more than the combined population of Chicago and San Francisco -- did not. And 10,000 died in traffic -- many in alcohol-related crashes."

Keep in mind that for every teenager who drives a car at night for social purposes, there are usually three others (sometimes many more) who are in the vehicle as passengers. Most have been warned by their parents not to ride with reckless drivers or those who have been drinking, but the reaction has usually been, "Aw, gee whiz, dad, I'm not a kid any more. I don't have to be lectured all the time. Get off my back."

All too often, the person behind the steering wheel of a wrecked car suffers less serious injuries than passengers who have been thrown through windshields or subjected to violent impact inside the vehicle.

Yes, this is New Year's Eve, and you are not likely to persuade your teenagers that it would be wise for them to stay at home tonight. But a reminder that last year five million teen-agers were involved in accidents might -- just might -- help them enjoy the evening without risking their lives. m

Talk to them before they go out tonight. It might seem that they're not paying much attention, but sometimes wise counsel does seep through in sufficient quantity to make an impression. It's worth a try.

It might also be useful to remind yu of two of this column's favorite suggestions for the new year, published annually since 1492.

1 -- If you haven't already sent Scott Chase a check for Children's Hospital, write one before you go to bed tonight so that it will be deductible from your 1980 income tax returns (federal and state).

2 -- Then fill in "1981" on all the rest of your checks and deposit slips. By the time you use up that many, you'll be accustomed to writing "1981." TO EACH HIS OWN

Jim Wilfong of Prince Frederick, Md., says, "Living in the country offers certain advantages the city dweller never gets to know."

He offers this case in point: "We received a Christmas card a few days ago that someone had forgotten to sign, so we told our postmistress, Ruth Rawlings, in Barstow, Md. For the uninitiated, Barstow is a suburb of Prince Frederick (population 600).

"Miss Rawlings said, 'Let me have it overnight. Maybe I can help.' "The next day she said, 'I think your card was from Alma Bowen. She had the fire, you know.'

"Well, Miss Rawlings was right. I'll bet you can't go into your main Washington Post Office or any of its substations and get that kind of service."

That's true Jim. But on the other hand, residents of Barstow can't get stuck in rush-hour traffic fumes the way we Washingtonians can. Big cities and small towns each have their own special charms, I guess.