Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
Review: Fisher-Price Medical Kit
We picked up the Fisher-Price Medical Kit for my daughter when she was about 16-months-old. My wife bought it after my Little Miss had an ear infection. At the doctor’s office Miss cried when the doctor listened to her chest and looked in her ears. On her next visit she allowed the doctor use a stethoscope and otoscope without a peep because she knew what the doctor’s tools did.
Mom is a labor and delivery nurse, but that has nothing to do with enjoyment of this toy. Little Miss doesn’t know what Mom does all day except “help sick babies,” nor has she seen Mom use her tools. We simply walked her through how to use each instrument and she was ready to go.
When I was sick one day, she delighted in bringing out her medical case to fix Dad. Yesterday, when Mom was admitted to the hospital for real, Miss brought her medical kit.
I’ve seen several toy medical kits. Here is what’s in the Fisher-Price kit and what I like about it.
1) Stethoscope — It works! Not great, but it works. Other stethoscopes I’ve seen use batteries to sound off a fake heart beat. One kit even had a doctor’s pager that did nothing but beep. No batteries are needed for this kit.
2) Thermometer — It has an interior piece you rotate to display a happy or sad smiley face along with a high or low temperature. Little Miss doesn’t understand temperatures, but she knew to make a sad face when Dad was sick. Of course, at the end of her exam she took my temperature again and found I was better.
3) Syringe — It has a wide ball tip and pushes into the cylinder housing (spring loaded) when pressed. Some toy syringes seem too narrow, a real jabbing hazard. The idea of a toy syringe might seem inappropriate, but it could help prepare a toddler for a real doctor’s visit when vaccinations will be given. Little Miss holds the needle upside down when injecting me with medicine, but oh well.
4) Blood pressure cuff — I have not seen another kit with a cuff. It fits around my wrist, attaching with Velcro. Fisher-Price states the cuff fits adults. Ours barely fits around my wrist. Squeezing the inflated ball on the end of the cuff causes the pressure gauge to spin around.
5) Adhesive bandage == OK, this is really a Band-Aid, but “Band-Aid” is a trademark. The bandage is a curved piece of plastic and my daughter clamps it on her wrist.
6) Otoscope — My daughter holds the otoscope up backwards to my ear and closes the eye she should be using to look through the device. She doesn’t seem to mind.
7) Simplicity — Some kits go overboard with instruments. Scalpel? Scissors? Tape? It is possible to have too many toys. The Fisher-Price kit sticks to essentials.
8) Reflex Hammer — The latest version of the medical kit does not include a reflex hammer. It’s a simple piece of plastic shaped like the tool you use to thump the reflex spot on your knee. Maybe teaching kids to hit another person with a hammer isn’t always the best thing.
Another change between my kit and the one sold today is the carrying case. We have a hard plastic carrying case, but Fisher-Price has replaced it with a cloth bag. The plastic case seems nice, but the adults in this household have never been able to stuff all of the instruments back inside. The stethoscope and sometimes the blood pressure cuff don’t fit. So, maybe the cloth bag is an improvement.
The medical kit is rated for 3-year-olds, but I can’t explain why. Any safety issue escapes me and my Little Miss loves playing with the instruments. Your mileage may vary.
Perhaps what I like most about this pretend toy is that it’s not branded with Elmo or Thomas or Dora or any other kid’s icon. And before you ask, yes, Fisher-Price sells a Sesame Street Medical Kit. I’m pleased my daughter is not pretending to be someone she sees on TV. She is free to make up her own original stories and ideas.
Check back in a day or two. I may add a few close-up product photos, just as soon as I find where my daughter has scattered the instruments.