Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
Review: Rotating Disco Ball Lamp for Kids
Important Update: See the safety caution at the end of this article.
I was introduced to the Rotating Disco Ball Lamp by Creative Motion Industries during a Christmas Eve gathering at a friend’s house.
There were six kids in the room ranging in age from 2 to 6. They didn’t care and began jumping and bouncing around the room as the lights swirled. It was a peculiar sight, but not offensive because the lyrics were unintelligible. After a minute, the mom switched over to a Weird Al CD. By then, I knew I had to get one of these things.
The disco ball is about 4 inches in diameter, black plastic with red, orange, yellow, blue and green light holes. It rotates at a fixed, somewhat fast speed and is powered by a regular power cord. All in all, it retails for about $11 and you are getting $11 in quality. I was lucky to find one for $3 used on Craigslist. (To explore Craigslist, look to see whether your city is listed, then navigate to the "For Sale" section and click the "babys+kids" link to find mostly unregulated free classifieds. Buyer beware.)
I didn’t find an age rating online for the disco ball, but I suggest only supervised use.
Based on past toy reviews, you might expect me to pan the idea of a disco ball. After all, toddlers don’t need colored lights to make dancing fun. But I also doubt my daughter would normally dance to death metal, so a disco ball brings with it its own inspiration. On my scale of toy purchases, this ranks as a guilty pleasure.
I happen to like toys which make darkness fun because we experience a fair number of power outages during the winter. A tricycle equipped with a stroller headlight is great, as are plain ol’ flash lights. Of course, this disco ball would be useless in an outage, but you get the idea.
We play my daughter’s favorite dance tune with the disco light, Abba’s Dancing Queen. At 2.5-years-old, her dancing consists of jumping in a fixed position, or running around in a circle. Sometimes she runs circles around our cat.
The host mom demonstrated the disco ball [close-up image] by turning off the room lights, turning on the ball, and flipping on the stereo. The dad of this family listens to death metal, and that’s exactly what came blaring out of the stereo speakers.
Safety Caution: Thinga-reader Michelle posted a comment below about a potential fire hazard, seemingly with this product. There was an incident from May 2006 with a disco ball distributed at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants and the product photo looks very much like the disco ball I own. However, it has a different product name and manufacturer, Manley Disco Light, made by Manley Toys. The Chuck E. Cheese toy does not (yet?) appear to be part of a recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but I’ve included a couple links below for you to make your own judgment.
The incident described involved a small fire where two kids were left unsupervised with the toy left on for a long period of time. The kids were found dead at 6 a.m. with the disco ball left on top of a plastic slide. The light’s instructions reportedly state the light should not be used for more than 4 hours at a time, and only under adult supervision. Personally, I’ll be keeping my disco ball stored out of toddler reach,
ensuring that it’s only used with supervision (and maybe I’ll keep an
eye out for another disco light.)