Top critical review
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******UPDATE 10/6/2011******~*~*~Great Fun Toy BUT for the STRANGULATION HAZARD~*~*~
on November 11, 2009
****NEWEST UPDATE 10/6/2011****This is in reply to the few ladies who feel the need to leave negative comments for my post. The MAIN reason for my post was so that parents could hear what happened to my daughter and either not buy this toy or if they did that they can take precautions and unhook the train from the caboose if they aren't going to be right beside them. My daughter DID get her neck stuck between the 2 parts...the train gets attached by a rubber connector so when my daughter fell the way that she did the train seperated further apart and she fell perfectly so that her neck was against the front of the train and when her weight went down as she fell the gap in the train tightened ON her neck...so reguardless of what any of the negative comments say, she COULD have gotten strangled. Just because a product is still on the market doesn't mean that it is safe and just because a lot of people havn't ran into a problem doesn't mean there won't be one. Look how long it took drop side cribs to get outlawed, most babies didn't have a problem in them but lots of them did. There is nothing wrong with being cautious when it comes to the safety of a baby/child and if my post can help keep even 1 kid from getting injured then that was a success. And also, if someone is being strangled, they can't breathe so they won't be crying or whining for someone to come help them...in reply to the latest comment.
****OLDER UPDATE IS AT THE BOTTOM********
My daughters received this for their 1st Birthday and have liked it since they first layed eyes on it. I'll explain the FUN features after I explain the DANGER.
My daughter Madison, who is the smaller of my twins(3-6 months clothes though she is 1) was playing with the train. There was a block on the other side so she leaned over to get the block but she slipped and her neck went between the front and back of the train(where they connect)!! Thankfully I was sitting right there and immediatly pulled her out but she would NOT have been able to get her self out. This is the same flaw that the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Chair had, there was a gap that a child could get their neck stuck between the chair & table..if you have the older style with that flaw they will send you a new piece to cover the gap, taking away the entrapment/strangulation hazard.
I did email Vtech about this but have not gotten any response. If you already have this toy I recommend ALWAYS keeping the train seperated from the seat unless an adult is right there with them. If you are thinking about buying this train, I'd skip it and buy something else until the gap is fixed...IF they fix it. Hopefully they will address the problem before a child is injured or killed.
As far as fun, my girls really enjoy this. They love turning the pages of the book, love pulling the blocks out once I put them in and just playing with the blocks by themselves. Their favorite thing is for me to pull/push them around while they sit on the train.
I do think this toy is probably more educational for children over 1 year. At one year they can't put the blocks into the side(at least my girls cant). There are little games that tell you to flip the block over to find what is on the other side or he tells you to find the letter 'P' and put it in the side. So 1 year olds have no idea what he is saying.
If you are looking for a toy for a 1 year old, I would recommend getting something else. My girls do like this but they'll gladly skip this & go for their Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Home or Leapfrog Learning Table, they spend way more time playing with those. If you are looking for a Sit to Stand toy, I don't think this is sturdy enough, my girls can go from sitting to standing w/out a problem but if they hold onto this it will normally tip right over. They do like the walker part of the train and are almost walking but when the train is used as a walker it is NOT very stable/sturdy and this will tip/fall either left or right & so will my girls...they fall more with it than if they were trying to walk w/out anything.
My girls are now 14 months old, both of them can walk, one of them slowly/cautiously & the other is a pro. Both of them still enjoy walkers but if they use the train part of this like a walker both of them will fall down since it is so unstable. They can walk across the room just fine without falling on their own but with this they fall. Right now the only things my girls like about this are the blocks-they like all blocks and sometimes they like turning the pages in the book. This is something they just do not play with much at all. I am putting this away(except the blocks) and will get it out again when my girls turn 2 and I'll see if they like it better then. I definately think there are better options for toys if you are buying for a 1 year old, I wouldnt recommend this unless the child is at least 2, maybe more but I still think there are better options than this. If you are set of getting a train type of toy then get the leapfrog alphabet train, that is much better for a 1 year old. The walker part is sturdy, it rolls easier when riding, has more age appropriate toys on it for 1 year olds & it has more toys on it. It also doesn't have a strangulation hazard. Both my girls love it, my 2 year old niece loved it & my 5 year old niece loved it.
The Vtech is hard to roll-if you are wanting an easy to ride/roll toy then I recommend the Fisher Price Ride Ons-my girls have the Fisher Price Lil'Princess Ride On and I also recommend the Little Tikes Ride On. These are ride on toys only-not learning toys. The Leapfrog is easier to roll than the Vtech but still not as easy as the Fisher Price Ride On or Little Tikes. My girls love riding things or being pushed around so it is better to have a basic ride on toy for that.