Advantages Portable. Interactive and colourful. Good battery life. Excellent
Disadvantages Can be awkward to get infant in and out. Availability.
|How mobile is the parents unit?|
|Value for Money|
|Powered by||Batteries only|
The amount of baby paraphernalia you can unwittingly accumulate as an enthusiastic parent can be quite astonishing - some of it more useful than others. The holy grail of infant kit however, is something that is useful and durable enough to endure to the next new arrival (should there be one) or, at the very least, can be passed on to someone else who can appreciate it. Throughout the first months of their life - until they can sit up unaided, babies either need to be held or put down somewhere. Even the most dedicated parent will soon discover that a constant stream of baby talk and facial gurning - just to keep the little bundle amused - will eventually have their brains seeping out of their ears. As such, having an infant version of an entertainment centre is a good half-way house between cuddles and cot, and, of the many kid-orientated products we have tried and tested, the Fisher Price Aquarium Take Along Swing does the job perfectly and stands out for its excellent value.
The Swing offers a number of functions that can be used separately or together.Motorised Swing
The motor has eight speeds, ranging from a gentle rocking motion to a slightly more vigorous swing, but to be frank, there seems little appreciable difference (to an adult) between low speed and top speed and, as such, the eight settings seem a little over-engineered. You can use the motorised swing without engaging any of the other functions.Lights
The red and blue lights on the underside of the control section above baby's head, when engaged, blink on and off in time to music.Music
The music can be put on separately, or in conjunction with the lights and consists of soothing, well-known lullabies. A separate knob allows you to adjust the volume to a level comfortable for baby (or as I prefer to phrase it, at the minimum level of annoyance I can tolerate). Keep in mind that the sound projects downwards because of the location of the speaker, so it will be louder for baby than for you.Toys
There are three main interactive "toys". Two, which are fish shaped and double as teethers with different textures, hang down from the underside of the control section adjacent to the lights. There is a control setting that is intended to reward baby for exploration, as when either of these two toys are pulled, the lights and music are activated for a short time and then stop. There is a brightly decorated small stuffed fish with tactile fins attached securely by a tether to the main part of the safety harness. Also, built into the sides of the swing arms are two small "fishbowls" filled with an aqueous blue liquid, in which two more brightly coloured fish "swim" when the swing rocks back and forth.
The plastic and metal surfaces are easy enough to wipe down, but the main area that will need a regular clean is the bucket seat. It is made of a combination of polyester (65%) and cotton (35%) with a 100& polyester filler. The good news is that: (a) its wipe-able, and (b) removable and machine washable and dryable - both on low heat. The cover slips easily off its frame (after the strong Velcro straps are undone) and is equally as easy to put back on after washing.
The Swing does have one main flaw that otherwise detracts from an otherwise excellently designed product. The control section at the top of the frame that houses all of the buttons and knobs makes it awkward to get the baby easily in and out without fully crouching down or kneeling - otherwise you end up either contorting yourself or the bambino - neither of which is a good idea. Other than this one issue, the Swing is a cracker of a baby product.
Fisher Price have designed an fun, entertaining, interactive and motorised baby swing that is fully portable, well built and excellent value at the price point (if you can find it new). Our first two children loved it, and our third is currently enjoying it, giving us, as parents, priceless hands-free time. The only bad points - and these are relative - are the ease of getting baby in and out, and its now limited availability. However, even if you can only find it second hand, its durability and build quality will give you an excellent nearly-new product that should give you many years of use.Highly Recommended
© Hishyeness 2011
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