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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
# parents panel
Parents Panel: What's one item you're glad you spent money on as a parent?
Scooters, exercise-friendly baby carriers… and a second dishwasher.


AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

A while back, we asked the panel about one parenting purchase that turned out to be a total waste of money. Now though, we want to hear about the gadgets and tools that really are worthwhile: What’s one item you’re glad you spent money on as a parent?

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

A scooter (two, in fact): Both my children have been using scooters since they could walk. They fly along in them, get lots of exercise – and I can walk at a proper pace alongside them!

- Denise C.

The super-comfortable baby carrier we’ve had for three years: We purchased an ergonomic baby carrier just before our son was born, and we still use it 3.5 years on for the occasional buggy-free outing. He’s 16kg now and it holds up to 20kg, so we can give him secure “piggy backs” for a while longer!

- Olly Keegan

A second dishwasher: With four kids, being able to clear away all the pots and pans quickly and easily after a meal has made a second dishwasher a must-have. We also have heaps of cheap kids plastic plates, bowls and cutlery.

- Ross Boxshall

image1 Ross Boxshall Four kids, two dishwashers, and plenty of plastic bowls. Ross Boxshall

My sound-smart baby monitor: The ‘baby cry’ function on our baby monitor is priceless . I didn’t realise how it worked for a few months but it has really helped improve our own sleep since then. When turned on, only noise/cries over a certain threshold come through on our end which saves us hearing every single little sigh, sniffle, snore or change of position.

- Kait Strickland

A super-practical hat: A merino wool balaclava hat might not be considered a must-have gadget, but it has definitely been our best clothing find. It protects the neck so no scarf is needed and the wool is really thin so Tymek doesn’t sweat – making it perfect for windy days. People actually stop us to ask where we bought it.

- Marta Lisiecka

Tymek hat Marta Lisiecka Tymek putting his hat to good use. Marta Lisiecka

A child carrier we can take on outdoor escapades: It allows us to walk and trek just about anywhere with our eight month old, and feel (a bit) like our pre-baby selves. Clíodhna adores her throne atop Daddy’s shoulders and we love being able to exercise and share the outdoors with her.

- Ríona Flood

A child car seat that swings to the side: I suffer from really bad back pain and this type of car seat has been a lifesaver for me. When taking my toddler in and out of the car, I can now turn her carseat round to face me instead of having to bend and lean in towards her.

- Denise Cumiskey

A movement-detecting sleep monitor for peace of mind: When Nathan was a young baby, the only way he would sleep for any length of time was on his stomach, which we knew wasn’t ideal.  In fact, one public health nurse told my wife that she would “be responsible for the death of our child.” To ease our anxiety, we purchased a baby monitor that sounds an alarm should no movement be detected. It was super expensive but was worth every penny and we’ve since passed it on to other parents

- Ken Hyland

Want to escape to Ireland’s Ancient East with a one-night stay at the beautiful Keadeen Hotel? Enter here – and don’t forget to like’s Family Magazine on Facebook and Twitter too!

More Parents Panel: What’s your best tip for getting some ‘me time’?

More Parents Panel: Which ‘must-have’ parenting purchase turned out to be a waste of money?

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