Product Type: ELC baby toys
Newest Review: ... also very economical with batteries, using mid-range batteries we have only needed to replace them twice over those sixteen months. ==Fina... more
Driving Mummy...Round The Bend!
ELC Light & Sound Buggy Driver
Member Name: joshuas-mummy
ELC Light & Sound Buggy Driver
Advantages: Provide distraction for short periods
Disadvantages: Poor securing mechanism
Like many young baby boys my son Josh is fiercely independant and always has been. It's frightening how much he wants to do on his own and how motivated he is to do it. I think even since he was tiny he has hated being restricted by his age and his size, and not being able to participate in basic functions that he wants to have created a lot of frustrations for him.
One particular problem we began having was when my son was about 8 months old. He's always loved being in his pram as he's so nosey and loves to watch people. It wasn't until he reached about 8 months that he began to put a time limit on his pram time. This made quite a lot of things difficult and if we were in a queue or not moving frequently enough he would voice his frustration that his boredom had created. Because he was mobile at a young age and walking by 10 months I don't think it helped that all he wanted to be doing was be on the floor moving himself around, not having mummy push him here there and everywhere!
After this had been going on for a little while I knew I needed to find something that I could use to distract him when boredom set in while we were shopping etc. Because if there is one thing I have learnt it's that no-one likes a screaming baby when your impatiently stuck in a queue and people look at you as though your a bad parent if your child cries in these instances! I knew it was time for a distraction!
I had seen various buggy steering wheels when I was out and about and wasn't sure if I liked the look of them or not. Some looked really fun and entertaining while others looked cheap and nasty and I pride myself in my son's appearance etc. Considering I had saved like mad to get my son a great Quinny buggy I didn't want to cheapen it by putting some cheap tat on the front-snobby I know but hey!
When I saw this particular Brilliant Start Buggy Driver in my local Early Learning Centre I did have a good look at it and thought of the versions I had seen it looked quite good. However I wasn't convinced enough to purchase it. A few weeks later we were visiting family in Cornwall and it was pouring with rain, we were stuck in Starbucks waiting for it to subside and my son was getting restless. E.L.C was right next door and I just had a lightbulb moment and went and bought the buggy driver. Probably more to ease the stares my son was attracting from previously chilled out coffee drinkers!
I paid £16.00 for mine and had to buy the batteries to go in it (2 xAA) which was reasonable I felt. It was green , turquoise and red and looking at it in more detail I was quite sure my son would enjoy playing with it!
The main feature of the Buggy Driver is of course the steering wheel which is right in the middle. It's a white large wheel which baby can hold and move round as if driving. Although at this stage my son didn't know about cars, steering etc he really enjoyed constantly turning the wheel while we walked around! He looked like he was driving us! In the centre of the wheel is a big black button which sounds the comical sounding 'beep'. Another favourite with children!
Next to the wheel is the ignition, it has a key sticking out which luckily isn't removable (most kids would otherwise throw this out within minutes as it's a firm favourite game with babies to watch mummies and daddies pick things up!) and this acts as the 'on' and 'off' of the whole driver. When on the toy will make noises when instigated, when off no noises will be heard but children can still play with the driver. This is useful if you are somewhere quiet like a library or book store etc.
On the opposit side of the steering wheel is the gear stick which can be in two directions - 'up' and 'down' this dictates whether music is playing or general noises that are attached to different actions with the driver. The tune that is played is an average musical tune, a little old fashioned and very repetative and annoying but the children seem to enjoy it and thats the main thing!
On the top of the wheel is the dashboard, this has lights which react and come on in response to the gear stick, the horn and the ignition and flash in accordance with the music. The rest of the bits on the dashboard are for decoration only and don't do anything except make the driver more like a car!
On either side of the driver itself is a movable, flexable 'wing' mirror. This was one of my sons favourite parts of the whole driver! He loved looking at himself in the mirror! And they rotate 360 degrees so he could also have fun turning them round and round! When I positioned them correctly Josh could look in the mirrors and see me smiling at him which he really enjoyed especialy because at this age they don't understand mirrors so they get very excited!
In order to attach to your pram it's quite simple, the theory is that there is a screw that operates two clips which you first looses to fit over the two sides of your pram and once in place you tighten the nut and bolt style locking system. Once you can't turn it anymore it's securely inplace. In order to create friction is some plastic grooves which help hold the driver in place.
Our experience with this is mixed. It's not overly expensive but ours broke quite quickly which was disappointing. Our Quinny pram has the seat fabric stretched over the sides of the pram itself which meant the driver didn't come in to contact with metal or plastic and it just couldn't grip the sides strongly enough so it kept falling down and squashing my sons legs which in turn made him frustrate because he couldn't move as easily. So we had to keep lifting it up and tightening it until the rubber grooves began to crumble off in small pieces and now one side has hardly any left. As a result the driver droops too low for it to distract my son and it just seems to lay limpy on top of his legs.
It's durability as a toy aside from this is quite good though, children in prams at this stage tend to really bring their weight down from above their heads through their arms and hit things, my son did this frequently and nothing in that sense ever broke and it's withstood some knocks in and out of the car etc. Considering it's a pram toy it's not waterproof though and say you get caught out in the rain I wouldn't like to think whether it would withstand this or not.
Entertainment wise it entertains my son for a short while in his pram. However it's usually when we put him straight in it that he plays with the driver. Which co-incidentaly has never been the problem as when he's first put in his pram it's a novelty and exciting to him. It's only after a while that he needs distracting and seeing as this is a long toy I can't store it anywhere on my pram to put on when needed. Plus it takes too long to screw on/off that would be inconviniant.
My son had this on his pram for a few months but not long. We don't use it any more and it's in the car sadly it's hardly used. He just didn't get the right use out of it. I think if our pram was made differently and could hold the driver in place we may have had more luck as it does seem like a good pram toy. However I can't bring myself to accept it's the best on the market so for now I'm still on the look out for a better way of distracting Josh.
For the minute though, a steady three stars.
Please visit www.elc.co.uk for more details.
Summary: Average but must be better on the market
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