KIERAN HOWARD: My advice is go out and buy batteries - lots of them

The statistics that mask continuing real hardship

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If you’ve not yet got children, but have one on the way, then please immediately go out and buy batteries. Buy lots and lots of batteries.

It’s possibly the best new-parent advice I can offer.

I can’t give an exact figure for how many you’ll need.

But I’d recommend somewhere in the region of 500 to see you through their first 10 years.

About 250 AAs and 250 AAAs should do the job, although that may be an underestimate.

You’ll also require many larger ones for the bigger toys too.

Seriously though, ensure you always have some in stock and know their precise location, because about 95 per cent of toys run on them these days, give or take five per ce nt.

From personal experience, it really is that high a percentage.

Also, make sure you’re never on your own with the little one when you suddenly realise you haven’t got any or can’t find the ones you thought you had.

Panic stations really do set in on those occasions, as I found out to my cost when I was in sole charge of Louie last week.

He kept bringing his small musical tambourine over to me and placing it in my hand.

He’d somehow found it, despite me having recently put it at the bottom of the toy box due to a lack of power.

I was certain in my head that I wouldn’t be able to easily put my hand on any unused batteries.

So I had to continually fob him off, reminding him that the toy was temporarily dead.

This didn’t appease him though, largely because he didn’t fully understand what I was trying to communicate to him.

He just thought I was being a bad dad and refusing to make it work for him.

He’s got a million other toys which are fully operational, but he wanted this one and was not prepared to give up his chance of playing with it.

Consequently, I completed a man search of the cupboards and drawers, which lasted all of 60 seconds and, unsurprisingly, turned up no batteries.

I then had to resort to Plan B and make the ultimate sacrifice, which was to borrow (never to be returned again) the batteries from the TV remote control.

Louie’s now happy and I now have to reluctantly get up every time I want to turn over or increase the volume on the telly.

Another lesson well and truly learned.

HE WON’T LIFT HIS FOOT OFF THE ACCELERATOR

Louie took his quad bike out for a spin for the first time last week.

Don’t panic. It’s not nearly as dangerous as it sounds.

It’s a six-volt battery-powered machine and does a maximum speed of about 2mph.

Mind you, I did have a moment of concern and bewilderment shortly after my dad told me he’d ordered him one.

He happened to mention that it was a Panther. So, with excitement and impatience building, I thought I’d Google it to see what was coming his way.

I quickly wished I hadn’t. I was more than a little alarmed to see photos of a large petrol-powered adult quad bike staring back at me.

Cue a rapid phonecall to my dad to hastily check the name of the vehicle he’d purchased. To my huge relief, it was actually a Pather.

Anyway, Louie is loving riding it. When he previously rode it along the hallway at home, we had to persuade him to place his foot on the accelerator.

But since he’s been outdoors on it, he won’t lift it off the accelerator. He’s craving more speed.