“ Brand: Playgro / Age: Newborn / Type: Push, Pull & Roll „
Of all the dozens of toys designed to soothe upset babies that I have been given over the years I've found few that actually do what they promise, there is however one that we were given for baby Jack which never fails to settle him no matter how upset he is. The Playgro pull cord Thomas The Tank Engine was a favourite from his very early days and he still loves it now he's 7 months.
The Playgro pull cord Thomas is a soft toy in the shape of Thomas The Tank Engine, made of soft fabric but featuring all the features you would see on the book and TV character, he features a musical mechanism within his body and when the cord on his underside is pulled down it gradually works its way back up all the while playing "lullaby" The toy has 2 red fabric ties on top of it allowing you to tie it to cots, cribs, buggies etc.... and the dangling cord has a round disc at the bottom which not only makes it easier for baby to grip but features a small plastic mirror which will either catch the light or show baby their reflection.
The inner mechanism of the toy is much like a classic music box in it's sound, it's gentle twinkling music is delicate but it's easy to make up the tune that it is playing. The length of music you get all depends on whether the cord is pulled to it's maximum length or not but this has no effect on the tunes speed which remains steady making the music pleasant to listen to. It's not battery operated in any way and the entire thing works off the basic pull cord mechanism, this is a great asset as it means you wont have any fiddly expensive batteries to replace, no machine parts that might breakdown, and allows the sweeter, crisper sound that you might not otherwise get in a battery operated toy.
The toy is very well made despite the cord and ties looking quite flimsy, my little boy will tug quite hard on the toy to get the music to play but there are no signs of wear or damage, the stitching is still perfect and the toy looks as if it were new even though it gets played with regularly. It is made of fabric with stuffing however features such as the funnel and wheels are made and attached seperately which seems to help the toy keep a good overall shape despite all the pulling and tugging it deals with. We fixed the toy to Jacks baby swing and initially would set off the music just to entertain him however we quickly noticed that if the music was playing when he was upset he'd quickly settle down, as soon as the music stopped he was upset again but with another pull on the cord he was happy again.
There are a few things about the toy which prevent it from being perfect, firstly it's size.......it's quite bulky which means that it doesn't fit well onto smaller cribs and buggies, it's also too heavy for moses baskets. Then there is the limited amount of time the tune plays for, while you get the benefit of purer music by is music box style it also means that you only get relatively short bursts of music, whereas if it were battery powered you could allow it to play longer which would obviously lead to baby being settled longer and mummy or daddy not having to get up frequently to set the music off again. And of course there is the price, at 12.99 it's quite expensive for what it does, yes it will always settle Jack but it has no other features then the music and small mirror, no variety in tunes and of course only plays for a short while each time.
We were bought the train as a gift and at 12.99 I wouldn't have purchased it myself, yes Jack loves it but the price would have put me off before we'd have a chance to realize that fact. It is available from many toy stores and I believe ours was from The Entertainer. As a simple, sweet toy that serves a very basic purpose I would recommend it, it's well made and does the job of settling Jack well, however, if you're after something more interactive with lots of features for your money then it's perhaps best to avoid it, here you're paying for brand name and good quality rather then interactivity and features.
Listen to soft soothing music whilst looking at your favorite character.