“ Brand: Chad Valley / Type: Talking petrol pump „
My youngest son is tractor mad and considering we are a farming family this is probably not surprising. On the farm we obviously have fuel for the tractors and this seemed to be the part of my son's role playing games that was missing. My Mum has a Little Tikes petrol pump toy but I couldn't find this available anywhere anymore. I had been looking for quite a while when I found the Chad Valley Talking Petrol Pump in my Argos book.
The petrol pump was priced at £29.99 but I bought it when it was on offer so paid a little less. I find that with Argos they usually have regular discounts especially on toys so it is worth keeping an eye on their offers.
The petrol pump comes in quite a large box and there is a small amount of assembly required. Once you have put the petrol pump together you have quite a large toy the dimensions are approximately 65cm high, 38cm wide and 13cm deep with two petrol pumps and an air pump. The petrol pump also comes with a credit card that you need for the interactive aspect of the toy.
There are pressure points on the handles of the petrol pumps that activate the talking petrol pump. When you remove the pump you are asked what fuel you require and you can choose between petrol and diesel. Once you have selected your fuel you are asked to dispense your fuel and there are glugging sounds and a counter moves to show how many litres and how much your fuel will cost. Once you replace the pump you are asked to pay with your card.
The pump is suitable for indoor and outdoor use but after only being outside for a couple of months ours has started looking really worn and tatty. There is a small air gauge but this can be pulled off and my son seems to enjoy doing this.
My son was just three when he got this as a gift for Christmas but I would say a younger child could also enjoy this toy. The manufacturers recommended age range is for age three and over but I think that is down to the removable parts and the interactive nature of the toy.
As the toy was received during the winter months it stayed inside for quite a while and it does take up a bit of room in our house but luckily it can be tucked away when not in use.
My son enjoyed playing with this toy inside and I was quite pleased that there is an on off switch as the voice does become quite annoying after a while. Now that the petrol pump has moved outside I would say that it still gets quite a bit of use as his tractor needs refuelling but as I said it is looking a bit tatty now and the batteries have worn out. I think that although I had intended the petrol pump to simply re-fuel the various cars and tractors we have in the garden the real attraction for my children was the talking interactive nature if the toy.
The talking petrol pump requires 3 x AA batteries which easy to insert and do last quite well. If I did have a negative regarding the toy it would be that it is quite flimsy and not as sturdy as the Little Tikes garden toys that we have. It falls over easily and can some pieces can be taken apart.
I would recommend the petrol pump to anyone with children who enjoy talking interactive toys.
Chad Valley is a brand that has long been synonymous with simple, durable, cost effective children's toys and a regular favourite in our household for those very reasons. The Chad Valley talking petrol pump was brought last Christmas as a present for my three year old son, but also with consideration for my four year old daughter as both children like to mix and match their toys. I generally, with a few exceptions try to buy toys that will appeal and be entertaining to both children, it's a sneaky ploy on my part to try and encourage them to interact and play together without the obligatory squabbling and on a few ocassions it does actually work and my purchases pay off!
I purchased the talking petrol pump last December from Argos. I am not certain of the exact price I paid but it is currently listed in their online catalogue for £26.99 which, for a toy of this ilk, in my opinion is reasonably priced and good value for money. Amazon are also selling for a hefty £48.25 with a delivery charge of £7.68 and I certainly would not consider purchasing at that price because I really do not believe it would is worth that money.
The petrol pump comes in a fairly large sturdy cardboard box (at a rough guess possibly a meter or so in length and just under a meter in width, from what I remember) and was really quite light weight and easy for me to lift and carry (Amazon have it listed on their website as weighing approximately 7kg boxed). Unlike many children's toys that are unnecessarily heavily packaged and intricately securred into their boxes it was a welcome relief to find that the petrol pump was incredibly easy to remove as all separates were just placed in the box with the exception of smaller pieces such as the credit card and pump gauge which were securred in a plasic bag. No polystyrene packaging or awkward fasteners to negotiate resulted in quick removal and actual assembly took around ten minutes without the need for instructions (which are included) as it was fairly obvious how all pieces fitted together which is perfect when you have bored, impatient children anciously waiting to play with their new toy!
The unit comprises of four main separates that need to be secured together (the black base, grey body which is securred to the underneath of the base by plastic bolts, the pump top which requires three AA batteries to work the electronics and the black middle section that holds the top and bottom together, again secured using plastic bolts). The pump gauge and signage (which sits on the top of the unit) are both fitted by slotting into plastic tubes. Included with the petrol pump is a small plastic credit card which can be used to work the electronics, although this is optional. Fully assembled the unit stands at 61cm high (which includes the signage on top) x 62cm wide x 22cm deep (measured on the base). It is quite clear on completion that the base is just too small and light to hold the unit upright during play particulary on a thick pile carpet or uneven floor. I really would have been prepared to pay a few extra pounds for a sturdier base if I could guarantee that the children would get a reasonable life expectancy from it. When pressing the electronic buttons the unit had to be held to ensure it did not tip over, a real problem for the children who would become incredibly frustrated by repeatedly having to pick it up, a design over sight in my opinion but not the worse one by any means.
Part of my reasoning behind the purchase, other than to provide the children with a fun toy was to introduce them to a true to life activity. Through watching the children playing it was clear that the pump was assisting them to develop their interactive and social skills through role play as well as encouage dextricity and co-ordination by means of the electronics. Infact this pump has manifested itself to become all manor of items including an electronic milk dispenser for soft toys and baby dolls of all things, a wonderful example of a childs limitless imagination! which is just as well as by using solely as a petrol pump would be fairly tedius so a great deal of imagination is required on the children's part to retain interest.
Electronics are surprisingly good with clear, fairly loud but not obtrusively so, realistic sound effects. There is no volume control or duo volume option when turned on which I was fairly surprised by as this feature can usually be found on smaller electronic toys as standard. Sound effects include an interactive talking operator, whos voice is clear and audible and who guides the children through the process of choosing their required fuel type (premium or super deisel or unleaded and super unleaded) after they have picked up a nozzel. I think this is a great idea as it assists with teaching children to listen carefully and follow basic instructions in order to progress with their game play without them just randomly pressing buttons for the sake of creating noise. Pressing the pump handle results in gurgling sound effects that simulate the release of the fuel whilst counters spin round displaying litres and price respectively (only up to a maximum value of £18.75 or 25 litres). Once again the talking operator guides the children through the payment process which, from time to time will not accept the credit card and inform them to find an alternative method of payment as their card was declined! Buttons on the electronic keypad also make realistic sound effects, bleeping when pressed. The air gauge supplies sound effects when a small button is pressed to simulate the quick release of air although the actual gauge can only be manually operated by moving the plastic hand around the dial. In general sound effects are entertaining whilst being kept simple and relevant to their corresponding actions. I love the fact that the pump has stayed reasonably true to the real life process of "filling up". No unnecessary noises or music added simply for the sake of making the toy noisey without serving any particular purpose.
Another reason for the purchase was to provide a suitable toy for out door play during warmer weather. Because the pump is very light transferring from the house to the garden would be a fairly effortless task and due to a lack of fiddly, intricate pieces the pump could be easily cleaned.
With two small children this pump has withstood a fair amount of wear and tear with the exception of one major flaw has remained relitively intact thanks to it's robust plastic mouldings which are all fairly solid. Infact, the only visable signs of abuse are where the pump stickers have been picked off and removed which is not the biggest of problems although I wish these details would be printed onto the plastic to prevent children doing this. My main concern has to be with the plastic bolts that keep the bottom half of the main body secured to the base by means of two plastic tubes that push through the bottom of the base and are securred to the underneath by the bolts. As the toy had been pushed around the bolts have loosened resulting in the plastic tubes becoming weak. My daughter attempted to screw the bolts back and the plastic tubes broke off in her hand leaving fairly sharp pieces of plastic sticking out from the main body of the pump and no way of ever securring the two pieces back together. I am disapointed to say the least that a toy by such a well respected manufacturer could be poorly constructed. Every erea of this pump is solid with the exception of the tubes and bolts and whilst I appreciate that this is in no way life threatening it does pose safety issues that would never have arisen had there been a more adequate way of connecting the separates together (better still the base and bottom section of the pump could be molded together during manufacturing to reduce the need for flimsy tubes and bolts.
This toy is marketed at small children and advertised as suitable for three years and over so I would expect it to be robust and strong enough to undergo some pretty hefty abuse. The box clearly has the Lion Mark logo, introduced by The British Toy & Hobby Association in 1989 to promote high safety standards throughout the toy industry to help consumers identify toys that have been classified as being safe for children to use. I am no expert but can assume that fairly rigorous tests are applied to children's toys before they are marketed and I just can not understand how such a clear defect could be over looked. I have informed the manufacturers and am currently awaiting a response.
Now I have to be honest I was betwixt and between as exactly what star rating to award this toy. On one hand it is reasonably priced and for the most, constructed with solid, sturdy, durable plastic and my children really did have a lot of enjoyment from it but on the other hand the base is just too light to adequately support the pump and certainly the week plastic tubes and bolts pose a serious design fault. I have decided to finally award three stars because I would actually highly recommend the toy if it were not for a couple of faults but it had to lose two stars for the poor support and safety aspect.