Most helpful critical review
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great concept, not so safe or durable...........
on August 28, 2013
I'm finding it rather complicated to rate this toy appropriately and want to emphasize up front that my review is somewhat lengthy, but ask everyone to please read it, as it does contain what I consider important info on this product................
OK, first off, upon receiving this item I was pretty surprised at how it was packaged. The cloth animals that go in each block/cylinder were attached inside each with string and each animal was strung together. I immediately cut them loose and pulled the strings out of each animal. However, I have 4 children and my mother owned a daycare when I was growing up, so I have been purchasing children's toys for many years now and have plenty of child safety experience in general. Without any instructions stating that the strings were to be removed, I am none the eager to imagine what could happen if a younger, more inexperienced parent, or perhaps just a parent having a "Duh?!" day or possibly in a rush, which are both scenarios that happen to the best of us, were to leave the strings, thinking maybe they are supposed to stay attached, as some toys are made this way. These were literally strings, like thick cross stitching thread, strings. So, I wasn't too impressed with the packaging and felt if they were packaged this way then there should have been a sticker attached or an instruction pamphlet, something cautioning the removal of these strings prior to play. That said, I tend to be somewhat paranoid about children's safety issues and its not as though its the worst safety hazard I've ever seen, so moving on.
The next thing that I noted was the size of some of the animals. If they were plastic, rubber or maybe even a hard foam, then they would be fine. However, they are cloth with cotton stuffing or batting fill. That being the case, they are squishy and can be mushed flat and compacted in a tight little ball very easily. The chicken, lambs and even the pigs are too small in my opinion and with a baby or young toddler chewing and slobbering on these, I feel they could become lodged in the throat rather easily and would be hard to expel because of the material.
I have also found several loose threads hanging around the edges of both the cylinders and animals I had to cut and pull off.
The last issue I have with this set is the cylinder construction. The cylinders are cloth covering cardboard, this is how they maintain their shape. I realize many children/baby toys are made with cardboard and have no problem with that. My complaint however is the quality of the cardboard used. It is very thin and makes durability an issue.
I am actually very shocked by the issues I have found with this set, as Manhattan toys has always been one of my faves. We own MANY toys by Manhattan, Baby Stella and tons of her accessories, whoozit toys, and many more. I have always been very pleased with all Manhattan purchases and consider them one of the best sources of fun, educational, safe toys at a reasonable price.
Negatives aside, my baby girl does truly love this toy set. She has had this for a few months now and plays with it alot. This is an accomplishment, as we own 2 homes and she has a massive assortment of toys at both places, I do not even attempt to make excuses, she is flat out spoiled rotten. This combined with the fact that she is in the 1 and 1/2 age yrs bracket, makes it difficult for any one toy to keep her attention longer then 5 min.
I'm not sure whether it is the bright colors, the put in take out factor, the cows ( I gave her the cows and cylinders and put the rest away), the flaps she can close, or what, but for whatever reason, she adores this toy set. She will grab it over tons of other toys available and sit and put the cows in all 3 cylinders and take them back out for long periods of time. When she tires of it and moves on to play with other things she always returns to pick it up again very shortly.
For us, this toy is still an excellent value and was money well spent, as my daughter loves it. However, others may find that having to remove much of the set for safety purposes makes this set a less then stellar purchase.. You are essentially paying $25-$30 for 3 cardboard cylinders and 4 stuffed cows.
I realize my review is rather lengthy and thank those of you whom took the time to read it. I wanted to make sure that I mentioned the safety issues I found with this product, as this is the most important factor in choosing children's toys. I feel strongly that the construction quality of toys has rapidly declined with companies and parents alike focusing so much recently on the toxicity of paints, chemicals and plastics. Not to say that those things may not hold merit, but our children have been using bottles and other plastic items made with BPA for years and have been chewing on painted toys for even longer with no ill results.
I am personally much more concerned that my child not have a toy constructed of materials causing choking and injury hazards that I KNOW CAN happen now, rather then focusing on something that MAY pose risk later.
Based on my experience, I could not really recommend this toy for others. While it worked out well for us and was worth the effort taken to make necessary adjustments, I feel it may not be a good purchase for others and may be dangerous in some circumstances.
I give this product stars for design concept, educational value and general play-ability, but had to remove stars for the negative issues. If this product were packaged and constructed differently with larger animals, it would definitely be a 5 star product.
Please take these points into consideration before purchasing this for a baby or younger toddler. Thank you!!