For his second birthday, Zander received a Sing N Spin Pablo from his aunt and uncle. Being an avid fan of the Backyardigans, this gift was a huge hit...after he got over his fear of a moving, walking, talking, dancing Pablo, of course.
That fear has now returned. This afternoon, Zander's new friend turned on him. It appears that Pablo has an evil streak.
It started out innocent enough. Zander was playing with Pablo on the floor in front of me. Whenever Zander gave one of Pablo's hands a squeeze, Pablo would commence with the singing and the spinning.
Suddenly Zander started to scream...I've heard all types of screams come from within this child, but never a scream like this. It made my heart skip a beat.
As Zander continued to scream, he held Pablo (who was still happily singing away) up in the air. That's when I saw that the flesh on the underside of his middle finger had been pulled into the space next to the wheel on the bottom of one of Pablo's feet. And Pablo was still singing and trying to spin...which meant the wheels on the bottom of his feet were still moving, pulling more and more of Zander's finger into the mechanism.
I tried to gently pry his flesh out, but to no avail. I held my breath, gave a quick yank, and his finger was free....but not without a little damage. Pablo had left a large red welt on my little boy's finger. At first he kept crossing his pointer finger over in front of it, as if to guard his injury...although it almost looked involuntary. This caused some concern. His flesh was pulled so far into the mechanism that the possibility of something more serious than a welt (ie. nerve damage or something similarly horrendous) was lingering in my mind.
After I got him calmed down a bit, I asked him what would make him feel better. "Balloon", he squeaked between sobs. More specifically, a pink balloon...he got to pick the perfect balloon out of a big bag of assorted colours and sizes.
It took about an hour for him to go back to his normal self. By that time his finger had just a red, slightly raised bruise. It's still extremely sore, but his finger appears to be functioning normally...thank God!
I went on the Fisher-Price website to confirm the suggested age for this toy. Just as my memory informed me, it is 18+ months. I'm not impressed.
The wheel mechanisms at the bottom of Pablo's feet that allow him to dance and spin are not shielded in any way to protect little fingers, or any other body part, from being pinched, caught or pulled in. Zander is two years old...and they expect an 18-month old child to be safe while playing with this thing?
I am currently composing a letter of complaint. Once completed, it will be sent to the appropriate Government department, toy safety organizations as well as the manufacturer itself.
I'm interested to see how Fisher-Price will respond. Perhaps the recommended age should be changed on this toy. Better safe than sorry, don't you think?