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
I like driving in my....buggy
ELC Light & Sound Buggy Driver
Member Name: sandemp
ELC Light & Sound Buggy Driver
Advantages: Well made, safe, entertaining, can be used on various buggies, not too loud
Disadvantages: Needs to be removed before folding buggy
==Beep, Beep - A Parent's View==
Formed from durable, wipe clean plastic this toy is easy to attach to almost any buggy via two clamps that tighten onto the buggy frame. I especially like that the inside of these clips is made of a rubberised material, which means that it's less likely to mark the buggy. Once the screws are tightened the clamps are extremely secure and hold the driver in place even when they have to contend with a very enthusiastic toddler. Once clamped onto the buggy it's easy to move the driver into the correct position for you child to play, there are ball joints that allow it to be moved from up and down. The arms are also hinged meaning that as well as being able to fit onto average sized buggies it can also be attached to those buggies that are smaller or larger than average. We use this attached to the Tesco Value Stroller, which is smaller than average buggy and we get a good fit every time. The only problem with fitting the driver to a buggy is that it needs to be removed before the buggy is folded up, which can be a little inconvenient when using public transport.
The driver's colour scheme is perhaps not the most attractive but the colours do seem to have been designed as to be as contrasting as possible. The main dashboard is a pale, yet bright green, while the steering wheel is white with a black horn, red and green lights and red speedometer (that doesn't do anything). There is a bright yellow gearbox on the left with a red gear stick and red and green light up arrows. On the right there is another "box" which is bright red with a yellow ignition key, black speaker, pair of buttons and small red light. There are also a pair of white, adjustable wing mirrors, with black detailing and baby safe mirrors.
As you can guess from the lights, this is a battery operated toy and in fact it runs on 2 AA batteries that we have only needed to change twice in over a year of regular use. As with most baby and toddler toys, these batteries are securely hidden behind a screw closure, and as seems to be the norm you do need a tiny screwdriver to remove this screw. Although the driver does have various sounds and lights, these are fairly limited, which means that the sounds can become very repetitive. The ignition key doubles up as an on/off switch and when turned produces the sound of an engine starting and lights up the small light above the key. The buttons beside the key each play a different tune as well as causing all the lights to flash. The two tunes are "Half a pound of tuppeny rice" and "She'll be coming round the mountain", which are instantly recognisable and play for approximately thirty seconds. The gear stick produced another two sounds, an engine revving when pushed up and a reverse beep when pushed down. The final sound the driver makes is a beep when the horn is pressed. All of the sounds are at a reasonable level, although they do seem a little loud when in enclosed spaces they aren't loud enough to become irritating when constantly pressed outdoors (or even on a bus).
==Brum brum - A Child's View==
Funnily enough, this is a buggy toy designed to keep your toddler occupied while in the buggy. As such we first started using this when Freddy was about four months old and over the last sixteen months the way he's played and interacted with this has changed almost beyond recognition. Although the driver is advertised as suitable for babies over the age of three months, I really don't see how such a young baby would interact with it. At four months old the contrasting colours caught Freddy's attention and he enjoyed looking at the flashing lights but was only able to activate them by accident. I must say the gear stick is particularly sensitive and only needs minimal pressure to make a noise, which meant that a jerky arm movement was all that was needed. As time has gone on Freddy has steadily learnt to operate all the different lights and sounds, simply by trial and error. Each of the buttons is sensitive enough to only need a small amount of pressure to work, except that is the ignition key that does require a little more dexterity. Freddy also loves to look at the baby in the mirrors and I sometimes position them so that he can see me in them, which gives me the chance to interact as we play "hide-a-boo".
Although he is able to walk, Freddy has only been able to do so for about a month and so spends a lot of time in his buggy. This is something he's not too happy about, and he gets bored if I happen to have stopped for any reason and can be very vocal about this, if I have forgotten to attach the driver. If the driver is attached to the buggy I have a much longer timeframe to browse in the shops before Freddy starts to get frustrated as the driver does hold his attention for a good length of time. At twenty months, Freddy now pretends to drive the driver, turning the steering wheel, pressing the horn, pulling the gear stick and pressing the buttons. He does occasionally become fixated with pressing one button, especially the horn and then it becomes a little irritating but far less so than hearing him upset. I especially like that the sounds are loud enough for Freddy to hear them, but not so loud that they annoy everyone on the bus.
While I wouldn't say that this is in anyway a replacement for our usual interaction while using the buggy (talking about what we can see), it does keep Freddy entertained while on trips out during those periods where I am otherwise occupied. Freddy does seem to quite like the driver at other times too, and will often seek it out to play with at home.
==Half a pound - A developmental View (and more)==
As I've already stated this toy is considered suitable for babies over the age of three months, and while there is absolutely nothing about is that would cause a danger to these young babies (or even younger), I really don't think they would be able to access it without a lot of adult intervention (that sort of defies the object really). Once baby is more able to coordinate their movements (at around four to six months), it's a little more suitable as even quite jerky movements can work the gear stick or horn and eventually they will work out that they are making the noises work. The mirrors also become quite attractive at this age, but I will say that it is quite hard to position the driver if you are using a reclining pushchair.
When this toy comes into it's own is when your child is sitting up in their stroller. It's at this point they have the skills to begin to really access the different functions and the driver really does help them improve their fine motor skills and learn about cause and effect. During the following moths the driver will also help your child's role play develop as it becomes a prop as they pretend to drive. As to an upper age, well Freddy is twenty months and the driver remains as essential and entertaining as ever while we are out and about and I would imagine it will remain so until he is ready to leave the stroller far behind him (or about two).
As well as being a toy that spans several developmental stages, the driver is also very durable. We've been using ours for sixteen months now and there is barely a scratch on it, even after I accidentally dropped it down the stairs. It's also very economical with batteries, using mid-range batteries we have only needed to replace them twice over those sixteen months.
The ELC Buggy Driver is a well made toy that I would recommend to the parent's of any young toddler who regularly uses a stroller. It really does help to keep them entertained while on the move and is suitable for a relatively large age range and so will last for a long time. I love the fact that it can be used on a range of different strollers and is easy to clean, while Freddy loves to press the buttons and pretend to drive. My only real gripe is that I have to undo one side to put Freddy in his buggy and remove it completely to put the buggy down.
So I'm going to give the ELC Buggy Driver four and a half stars out of five (rounded up to five) and recommend that if you have a young baby you buy one, or if you have a toddler who objects to being sat in a stroller for more than a few minutes you buy one. But I would recommend that if you can get hold of one, you buy the colour scheme we have, as the high contrast colours may not look pretty but they are more attractive to young babies. Failing that I would recommend the newer unisex colour scheme even for a girl as this is brighter than the pink and can also be used with another child once yours has outgrown it (and it is so durable it will last through two or more children).
Summary: A great toy for on the move
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