We’re big on family here at the Irish Red Cross. Below, some of our resident Mums and Dads share their top safety tips for keeping playtime fun.

Emma, is Mum to three year old Isabella and is expecting baby No.2 in 2014

emma+doyle+irish+red+cross+mum+first+aid+safety“My number one tip for new born babies is to resist the urge put a soft toy in with the baby when they are sleeping as there is a risk of suffocation. I’m also teaching Isabella to put away her toys when she’s finished playing. Something as simple as an alphabet card can cause you to slip, and scattered toys can be a tripping hazard.” Irish Red Cross Tip: Children under one learn through their senses; sight, touch, sound and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them. Opt for toys that are colourful, lightweight, and are made of non-toxic materials.

Danny is Dad to Ten year old Jack, five year old Jessica and one year old Grace

toy+show+child+safety+IRISH+RED+CROSS“Shopping for Christmas presents when you have three children at various ages can be a minefield! They want completely different toys. The one thing I have learned over the years is that shopping for a good quality toy. As with all boys Jack’s age, if he can pull it apart to see how it works, then he will! That leaves a trail of small pieces lying around for the baby to pick up and pop into her mouth.” Irish Red Cross Tip: Shop smart, check the label to ensure that the toy is suitable for the age of the child. Test toys for strength, flammability, suitability and ensure it’s been purchased from a reputable seller.

Maria is Mum to nine year old Harry, six year old Molly and two year old Isabelle

“Watch out for the wires and plastic tags that tie the dolls and cars to boxes. I know of three children that put these in their mouths causing two to nearly choke and one to cut their mouth.” Irish Red Cross Tip: If possible, take the toys out of their packaging before they are given to a child. At Christmas, take off the ties and labels before wrapping the gifts. Be sure to tidy away any plastic wrappings.  

Ronan is Dad to four year old Sophie and one year old James.

james and ronan“As a Dad, I think that it’s all about having the right gear. When Sophie is out on her scooter, it’s inevitable that she will fall (though my wife doesn’t like to think so). I always make sure that Sophie has her helmet on, knee pads, gloves and also trousers to minimise the damage if she does fall.” Irish Red Cross Tip: When it comes to safety gear, look for the CE mark. If you are out on a push bike with your child, make sure you BOTH wear helmets!

Jen is Mum to Jessica 12

cyber+safety+for+kids+irish+red+cross“At 12 years old and practically a teenager I don’t have to worry about Jessica choking on small pieces of toys so much anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t have something to worry about. In the age of everything “computer”, internet safety is a real issue. As a parent it is important to install parental controls, update yourself on all the latest trends and gadgets and regularly check what they are viewing”

Irish Red Cross Tip: Spend time regularly with your children online and set out clear internet usage rules that kids understand. Software programmes such as Net Nanny and Spectator Soft offer filtering and monitoring options.

If you would like to learn more about family safety and first aid, the Irish Red Cross runs one day Family First Aid courses around Ireland. To book a course and for more information drop us an email at courses@redcross.ie or call us on 1890 502 502.