“ Brand: ELC / Type: Toy Ambulance / Type: Cars & Vehicles „
My parents are notorious for buying my boys "little presents". As their only grandchildren my mum and dad really do spoil them especially when they see toys on sale in ELC. After buying quite a few toys on sale and realising there is a very clear reason they have been reduced I had hoped my parents were growing out of this habit. I was wrong and during the ELC summer sale my parents decided to buy my boys the ELC To The Rescue Ambulance.
*** ELC To The Rescue Ambulance***
The ELC To The Rescue Ambulance is a an emergency services ambulance which has lights and sirens. The ambulance is made from durable white plastic, with green ambulance detailing on the side with black wheels so a child can push the ambulance along the floor. The ambulance has a siren and flashing lights. The ambulance has a front cab where there is space for an ambulance driver. The back of the ambulance opens. It fact this opens by pulling the ambulance apart at the top and it splits open and the sides come down to reveal the main ambulance area. Inside here is a stretcher with a patient figure who is covered in bandages and fits onto the stretcher. Inside this section is a heart monitor which lights up and shows a pulse where you press one button. There is another button next to the monitor which makes resuscitator noises. Size wise the vehicle is around 30cm long by 20cm wide and 15cm tall. The figures are approximately 8cm tall.
ELC state that the To The Rescue Ambulance is suitable for children aged 1-3 years old. The toy requires 2 size AA batteries however these do come supplied.
The toy is available from ELC and Mothercare stores and available online on both of these sites. The RRP for the To The Rescue Ambulance is £16.00. My parents bought this in the summer sale in July 2011 for £10.00 which is a reasonable reduction making this toy extremely good value.
***Playing with It***
Like most other ELC toys the To The Rescue Ambulance comes in a box and the vehicle and figures are secured into place by ties which take around 5 minutes to remove. You need to remove a strip from the battery pack to activate the toy.
The toy has the usually ELC on off switch underneath the ambulance. The middle setting is the off setting. Pushing the switch up sets the toy to half volume and pushing the switch to the down position is full volume. Personally I always turn ELC toys onto half volume as full volume is loud and the sounds on the ambulance do get repetitive especially if you have to listen to them at a loud volume.
My boys were 17 months old when they first started playing with this toy and from the moment they were given it to play with they loved it. They both love vehicle type toys and this did not disappoint, especially as there are lots of lights, sounds and buttons to keep them amused. By pushing the ambulance along sets off the siren, when you press a button on the steering wheel on the drivers cab the lights on the top of the ambulance and the headlights flash. Inside of the ambulance there are more buttons to press. There is space for a stretcher and the patient to lie on. At the side of the stretcher a heart monitor is fixed inside the ambulance. This has two red buttons to press. When you press one it makes a beating heart sound and a heart and heart rate flashes up on the monitor. The other button makes a buzzing resuscitator noise. My boys love to press the buttons and they even mimic the "bump bump" heart beat sound that the heart monitor makes.
What I particularly like about the ambulance is how easy the back of the ambulance is to open and close. We have the helicopter from the ELC "To the Rescue range" and this is virtually impossible for an adult to open never mind a toddler. The ambulance opens up very easily and the top of the ambulance opens outwards so the sides fold out onto each other. This makes it very easy for a child to play with the figures inside of the ambulance but also play independently with the toy and I feel this helps to encourage their imagination as they do not need constant parent intervention to help them play. Part of the fun for my boys initially was actually opening and shutting the ambulance doors and they looked very proud of themselves when they realised they could do this on their own.
I do feel the toy is definitely suitable from 12 months. Providing a child is able to sit up from around 9 months they could enjoy the toy because of the lights and the sounds. The figures and parts that come with the ambulance do not present a choking hazard. I feel at 12 months a child would enjoy the basic functions of the ambulance i.e. its movement, sounds and lights but from around 16-18 months they would really start to get the most benefit from the toy. At this age I feel they are able to enjoy the basic functions but have greater coordination in order to easily open and shut the doors and place the figures in and out of the ambulance and play with it in a real imaginative way. The stretcher and patient figure fit together well and it's easy for a child to place these inside of the ambulance. The other figures fit in the drivers cab very easily which a child could do from 12 months old.
My only real "issue" with the ambulance is that one of the figures does not fit inside of the ambulance for storage. There is only space for one figure in the front of the ambulance and only space for the patient and stretcher when the ambulance doors are shut. This means that at tidy up time the spare figure has to go into the toy box. I quite like toys where I can store all the pieces together as once something small goes into our toy box it is hard to find it again.
We have other emergency vehicles and my boys are starting to play with these alongside the To The Rescue Ambulance. One of my best friends brings her 3 year old little boy regularly to visit and my boys see him playing "emergencies" and I think this encourages them to do the same. For a 3 year old the ambulance is slightly basic but my friends little boy did think it was "cool" that you could put the patient figure on the heart monitor inside the ambulance and he did show an interest in this toy, more so that other toys from the ELC 1-3 years range.
The toy is very durable, even the doors to the ambulance are robust and have not smashed despite being open when my boys have dropped or thrown the ambulance off the sofa onto the laminate flooring. The toy is dropped on a daily basis and the lights and sounds still are fully functional. I also find my boys chew and gnaw on the figures that come with the ambulance and there are no teeth marks in these figures or the detail has not scratched off.
The plastic is also very easy to wipe over but I do find because of the design of the driver cab if you need to clean out this section getting in all of the nooks and crannies is more difficult as you cnt fit your hand fully inside.
For once I can actually say my parents were right and the ELC To The Rescue Ambulance is actually a very good toy. I would say it is one of the better ELC vehicle toys and definitely one of the better toys from the "to the rescue" range. The range of sounds and buttons to press are excellent and my boys are amused for long periods of time by this toy. From 18 months old my boys have understood that the man in bandages is poorly and it is clear they are using their imagination and pretending to transport him in the ambulance as they babble away to each other.
For £10 this was an excellent purchase and even at the full price of £16.00 this is good value, especially as it is a very durable ELC toy.
My only real criticism of the toy is that because of the design it is easy to lose one of the figures because there is no space for it in the ambulance when you come to close it and store it away. This is not a major issue and you will eventually find it somewhere in the toy box, although is annoying for a parent like myself who tries to keep all of the pieces of toys together.