“ Brand: Wilkinson / Type: Baby Toy „
Ah, the lure of the illicit, the forbidden! The tantalising torment of being denied something that is placed so teasingly close to one. Mobile phones, ipods, cameras, remote controls, all of them hold a fascination for Baby and she will lunge, lean, stretch, squeeze, grab, gurn, and squeak in her efforts to reach these prizes. Then she tries to chew them. She has turned up volumes, speed-dialled the local takeaway, nearly upgraded our Sky package and finally, recorded Cash in the Attic. Something had to be done. A decoy was necessary.
What is it?
It is a bright yellow toy TV remote control with red and green buttons for pretending to change channel, change volume, rewind, stop, play, fastforward, switch on and off and- I'm guessing- go interactive. It has a red light at the top that produces a wavering flicker when you press 'on'. It requires two AAA batteries that are included and the batteries are housed in a compartment that is sealed with a single screw. According to the Wilko website it measures 20.5cmX2.5cmX5.5cm. It is labelled as suitable from 18months. It is £3.99 and one of Wilko's own brand products.
Realistic sounds??! Are you kidding me?! Does your TV remote make sounds? Does it shout: "One! Two! Three!" as you press the numbers? Does it make a reverberating 'BONG!' as you hit your Interactive button? Does your Select button play a tension-building, 'will-the-right-answer-be-revealed-for-a-thousand-pounds?' type jingle? No. No. So I take issue with this description, since the only realistic sounds are those of the fast-forward and rewind buttons, which give a passable rendition of a squeaky old VCR engaged in these activities.
My second gripe is that I suspect the quality of this toy to be quite poor. When we came across these in Wilkinson's there were about twelve of them displayed, slotted vertically into a card pallet with holes that held them steady. There was no other packaging; the point being, I suppose, to keep costs low and to encourage people such as myself to pick them up and play about with them. I duly did this and pressed loads of buttons and none of the ones I picked did anything- no noise, no lights, nothing. I assumed that they either had no batteries in, or that they had been pressed so much already that the batteries had given up. Once home, however, I discovered that changing the batteries made no difference, so I had to get it exchanged. Of the eight TV remotes that were in store when I returned, only two made sounds and had the flashing light, so there is every chance that the others were all also faulty.
On the plus side, apart from the colour, it is quite realistic looking. It is useful for Baby to hear the numbers spoken when the buttons are pressed. I have noticed also that other adults like to play with it.
She is 14 (11) months so too young for it really, but she likes this very much. It keeps her happily entertained for a few minutes as she presses the buttons and she really enjoys the sounds and points at the light with her index finger.
She loses interest in the feel of the buttons which are a smooth plastic, rather than the rubberised ones of our real remotes. I think that is the clincher. It is also lighter, and as with the real things the problem is that if she holds it at the end to press the lower buttons, it tends to tip forward and hit her on the head. This surprises rather than hurts.
It is clear that it does not for one minute fool her. It is not as good as the real thing. Our problem remains.
Some good features here, but there are probably better ones available.