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In our current pre-Christmas, pre new baby arrival clear out Mr Lools and I are sorting through all of the "baby" toys we have left from our 21 month old twin boys. Some of these were great purchases others very bad purchases. One reason we bought certain toys was that my boys seemed quite restless when out in their pushchair or when in the car seat for long periods. So after looking enviously at other parents and wondering their secret of quiet content babies we decided to opt for a pushchair/ car seat toy. Not wanting to spend a large amount on a toy (as we had to buy the toy times two) we opted for the Red Kite Spiraloo.
***Red Kit Spiraloo***
The Red Kite Spiraloo is basically a toy to attach to the handles or frame of a pushchair or to the handle of a car seat to keep a baby amused. The toy is basically a soft spiral shaped soft toy that attaches to a pushchair or car seat handle by simply wrapping the spiral shaped toy around the handle. The main soft body of the toy is colourful but also has four soft characters that dangle from the wrap around section.
Red Kite have 3 different Spiraloo versions. These are:
Funky Friends- a jungle themed toy with a red and orange spiral section and jungle creatures hanging down to play with.
Little Bugs- A bug themed toy with a yellow, green and orange spiral section and butterfly, caterpillar, snail and bug creatures hanging down.
Multi Coloured- A red and light blue spiral section with a creatures hanging down for a baby to play with. The figures are a teddy a flower with mirror inside, a pig that rattles and a fish that is made from a crunchy fabric.
Red Kite state the Spiraloo toy is suitable for babies aged over 3 months old.
We have two of the Multi-Coloured versions Spiraloo's therefore my review will be based on this Red Kite product.
The Red Kite Spiraloo is available from Asda stores, Asda Direct online and also available from Bambino Direct and smaller online retailers. The RRP for the toy is £10.99 however Asda sell this toy for £7. The toy is regularly part of the Asda Baby Event which is when we purchased this toy at a discounted price for £5 per Spiraloo. At the time this appeared excellent value and the Red Kite Spiraloo is a lot cheaper than many other brands of toy you attach to pushchair or car seat handles which can be priced in excess of £15.
We bought two Spiraloo toys when my boys were just over 3 months old and I was finding they were awake for longer periods and wanting stimulation when sat in their pushchair or car seat.
On our first outing I decided to attach the toy to their car seat handle when we were going on an hour long car journey to visit friends. My boys tended to sleep in the car but I did find that it was taking them longer to fall asleep so they often spent the first 15 minutes of the journey awake and were restless and if they cried this distracted me from driving. My hope was the toys would discourage the crying and restlessness. Attaching the toy to the car seat handle was very simple. Both our car seats were Maxi Cosi Cabrio-Fix seats which are probably one of the most common baby car seats. To attach the toy you simple stretch out the soft section of the main body which is very much like a long sausage shaped piece of padded material. The spiral shape of the toy then curls around the car seat handle which holds this into place. There are no clips or ties to hold the toy into place. My initial feeling was that the soft toy did not feel very secure, especially as it covered the main top section of the car seat handle but seemed to be slipping down the side of the shiny curved plastic car seat handle.
Because my boys car seats were rear facing I could not see them fully but they seemed content and a lot happier than when no toys were on their car seat handle and their legs were happily kicking away. I started driving and within 2 minutes the Spiraloo toy had slipped down the side of the car seat handle on one of my car seats so they couldn't play with the toy or really see it. Less than 30 seconds later the same thing happened with the other toy on the other car seat. I decided to pull in and put the toys back into position. However after less than 5 minutes of driving (at less than 20mph on the roads out of our housing estate) both Spiraloo toys had slipped down and were hanging down the sides of the car seat handles.
After a few attempts of attaching the Spiraloo on the car seats I decided to only use on the bar of our pushchair instead (a Baby Jogger City Mini Double) on a double pushchair there was enough space to attach two Spiraloo toys to the pushchair bar. I started to attach the Spiraloo toys to the pushchair at around 20 weeks old. At this stage my boys were able to hold their heads up and started to want to be sat more upright in the pushchairs. They could just reach the dangling toys from the Spiraloo at this point but after an initial 2 minute play with the toys they seemed bored. Compared with other pushchair toys the Spiraloo is very basic. The toy has a rattling toy hanging from it but this is a little too quiet therefore a baby can't really hear this sound too well especially when out and about. The other dangling toys are also very basic and the mirrored section in the centre of the dangling flower toy is so small (about the size of a 10p piece) a child can hardly see their reflection.
I did feel that between (4 and a half month old and 7 months) the Spiraloo toys actually caused more annoyance to my boys as they did not really sit right on my pushchair bar and secondly actually obstructed their view out of the pushchair. Because the spiral section which wraps around the pushchair bar is quite padded it made it more difficult for smaller babies to see what was happening in front of them especially as the outside world was a lot more interesting than the actual Spiraloo toy.
I decided to try and use the Spiraloo toys again on the pushchair at around 8/9 months. At this stage my boys were sitting totally upright and could reach forward and grab out for toys. However because their motor skills had developed so much they could actually pull the Spiraloo toy off the bar in front of them and would find it very entertaining to throw the toys onto the floor. Although the spiral toy wraps around the pushchair bar there is no tie to hold the toy onto the pushchair so when a baby grabs the end of the toy if they simply pull hard enough the toy almost springs off the bar it is attached to.
I initially would have said the Spiraloo toy is better for babies over 6 months old however after encountering my boys being able to rip the toy off their pushchair bar from 8 months I would probably say the toy is better for those in the 3-6 month age bracket as they do not have motor skills that have developed enough to pull the toy from what it is attached to. Although I would say that in order for a baby in this age category to benefit and enjoy the Spiraloo toy they would require it to be attached in a position that does not block their view and also stays in the correct position.
Durability wise the toy is well made and all parts of the toy are sewn together well and the dangly toys appear to be firmly attached. This is a soft toy therefore does pick up dirt easily of dropped or touched with sticky fingers. Because it is a soft toy it is not easily wiped clean but can be put in the washing machine. I have washed both our Spiraloo toys twice in the washing machine and allowed them to drip dry on the radiator and they both look as new.
I would definitely not recommend the Red Kite Spiraloo to other parents and will not be keeping this toy for baby number 3. Obviously both my boys were not keen on the size of the Spiraloo and that it obstructed their view of the world which is only a partial criticism of the product however compared with other pushchair toys it is poorly designed and I don't feel offers much stimulation and attraction to babies.
For £5 this was not an expensive pushchair toy however despite its low price I feel it was a waste of money and I would have been better spending a little more money on two toys which stayed in place rather than fall or end up pulled off onto the floor and had toys to play with that would keep a baby entertained.
Definitely one to avoid!