Many people are fascinated with the medical field, hence the medical dramas on TV like ER and Greys Anatomy. Indeed, many parents want their children to grow up to be doctors. But if your child is given this toy medical kit, it might just turn her off the field completely.
About the Toy Kit
This toy medical kit by International Playthings retails for $19.99 and is intended for children 2 years and up. It consists of a hard white plastic case with clear plastic handles filled with various medical instruments:
- A stethoscope whose chestpiece base can play heartbeat and coughing sounds (batteries are included),
- A syringe with a clear body showing its green and purple plunger mechanism that squeaks when your child depresses it,
- A blood pressure gauge with a fabric arm cuff and a dial that spins when you squeeze the bulb,
- A reflex hammer (but this has a flat round head instead of the triangular head Im used to seeing at the doctors office),
- A thermometer (whose temperature reading changes color and temperature reading with each push of a button to escalate from normal to a fever),
- An auriscope (which my daughter hasnt figured out yet is for looking into ears),
- A laryngoscope (which frankly, I assumed was a dental mirror tool) and
- A beige plastic bandage that looks like a cuff bracelet (but is far too big for most toddlers and far too small for most adults).
This toy received 4.5 stars from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and their Gold Award.
I found this medical kit while on vacation shopping at an outlet store for $14.99 and noticed it had the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award sticker. Thus, I picked it up without having done any prior research, having no idea the outlet price was only $5 cheaper than retail, and relying solely on the Oppenheim name. The fact that this is rated for kids 2 and older, compared to other kits intended for children 3 and older, was also important since my daughter is not yet 2.
Unfortunately, after removing it from the box to squeeze it into my carry-on bag, I realize this almost all-plastic toy just isnt constructed very well. The lightweight carrying case is made of rigid plastic, so theres no give at all when trying to re-insert the toys. The two clear plastic handles flip out to the side and then click together closed. Ive read of other parents complaints about the cases handles breaking. Given that warning, I never let my daughter play with the handles. We always played with this toy together, as it's not something I can see her using in independent play (at least at this age).
The bulkiest item, the stethoscope, barely fits into the case and has to be inserted just the right way and in the right order, after a couple small items are already in the case, to ensure everything can fit back in. I also found it far too small to fit on my childs large heard (90% for head circumference), so rather than sit in her ears under her chin, it can only wrap around her neck. However, the rigid plastic has rough edges so she doesnt even like wearing it around her neck. I tried repeatedly to interest her in the heartbeat and coughing sounds on the chestpiece base of the stethoscope but to no avail. She completely ignores this toy. Parents whose children are able to use it should note that its length appears to be way too short to reach another persons heart.
To improve this particular item, I would have liked to see some sort of adjustment mechanism so children with bigger heads (or the adults who play with them) can also use the stethoscope. I also think softer, more pliable rubber like on a real stethoscope would make it much more comfortable so toddlers could comfortably wear it around their necks. Finally, a longer stethoscope would enable a child to hear an adults heartbeat (without resorting to sitting on the adults lap).
Im also disappointed by another part of the toy, the blood pressure cuff, as it will not stay assembled. The plastic bulb and tubing repeatedly fall off of the fabric cuff with its spinning dial. Thus, my daughter walks around the house just holding the bulb and tubing.
I dont have any complaints about the other parts of the toy. However, Im fairly neutral on the others. My daughter hasnt figured out the auriscope, ignores the laryngoscope (though I show her my teeth with it), doesnt care for the thermometer or reflex hammer, and played with the bandage once but gave up after it kept falling off her wrist.
My daughters favorite part of this toy medical kit is the syringe. We give each other shots and she thinks its quite fun. I like how colorful it is and how the clear body enables the child to see inside. The squeaking sound can get annoying but it appeals to kids. Still, one syringe is not worth the $15 I paid for this toy (not to mention lugging it home in my carry-on).
I give this toy 1 star. This is the most disappointed I have ever been with any of my daughters toys. It is such a complete waste of money and time (in terms of shopping for it and then trying to play with it). I wish I could get my $15 back, but I'm not flying back down to the outlets to return this.
Moreover, I had high expectations given the Oppenheim seal, which has never let me down in the past. The Oppenheims are known for evaluating toys and sending toys out to actual families for testing. Sadly, our poor experience with this toy has caused me to lose the trust I had placed in the Oppenheims and to look at future toys with their seal with great skepticism.
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Amount Paid (US$): 14.99
Type of Toy: Other
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months