“ Brand: Mothercare / Type: Baby Toy / Type: Play Mats & Gyms „
The Happy Lion Safari playgym has an RRP of £45 but it's currently reduced on the Mothercare website to £36 (as of Feb 2010). Like most baby gyms, it consists of a flattish padded cushion topped by a pair arching 'arms' from which various baby toys dangle. In this case the cushion base is in the shape of a lion: his head is the main padded pillow, the body is the main part of the cushion and there are four multicoloured feet adding added interest. It's mostly in shades of orange, but the arched arms are green and stripy respectively, so overall it's a colourful and very attractive toy. With the exception of fabric one stripy arm and some ribbon decorations, the playmat and all the toys it comes with are made of a nice, soft, short-pile fleece-type fabric.
The padded cushion base is 90cm by 90cm - fairly generous given the average size of baby that's going to be using it - and with the foam-coated bendy arms in place it's 60cm high. The arms have a springy core surrounded by dense foam (the same stuff they use in swimming pool floats) and clip securely onto the pillow base via ruck-sack-style expanding plastic clips. The arms when in place stand up and hold their position quite well and I found them to be a much better design than the arms on other baby gyms I've previously owned.
The dangling soft toys are attractively modelled with sweet, cute faces - which is plus point as I find you can get some truly monstrous-looking baby toys these days. They have small fabric loops on the backs which allow them to be hung at various heights from the arms of the playgym. The loops are small enough to be inconspicuous so that the toys can be played with in their own right, but I found the sturdy plastic C-shaped clips supplied to connect the toys to the gym a bit over-the-top. The toys attach so securely that there's no possibility that a baby could detach them from the gym, however. The toys are all about five or six inches in size, and include a giraffe with internal squeaker, a rattling blue elephant and a red bear. There may be another toy in the complete package (I got mine on Ebay and suspect one was missing). There's also a plastic foil mirror as a centrepiece to the gym for the baby to look up at as she lies on the mat.
Overall this is a good quality, moderately interesting baby toy. As I have another free-standing baby gym but only a fairly ratty carpet, into direct contact with which I'm not quite ready to put the baby (tch. This really makes our house sound like a midden: but I'll have you know it's a 'vintage' Persian rug, actually, which I'm keeping partly because it's had ample time I suspect to accumulate more than enough allergens to effectively prime the immune system of any baby. Also as it's had years and years of Play Doh and Petit Filou etc. ground into what remains of the pile, I'm holding off replacing it till sprog #2 can be trusted not to be sick or to drop food on it. And it's a good dark colour - well. It is now, anyway.). Anyway, with the Mothercare gym I was primarily after the soft cushion element, and though this is well-padded on the lion's head especially and also at the edges, the orange circle in the centre (the lion's 'belly') is only fabric-thick, which I thought was a slight disappointment.
I wouldn't say that the toys are amazing as regards the various 'sight and sound development' standards that all baby toys have to be accredited by these days but they are well made and quite nice. I'd say this is a good quality basic baby gym that comes with some nice accessories, but which needs a few additional baby toys of your own added to improve the overall interest of it. Its great advantage I thought is that the cushion is machine-washable (the arms can only be sponge-cleaned). The detachable cushion part is also pretty enough and sturdy enough on its own to be used as a floor-cushion for an older child's room, so I think we'll be holding onto this for a while.