Sunday, October 28, 2007

Move Along, Little Chubbies! Viking Toys' Ingeniusly Simple Line

We love Chubbies! And that's no reference to pot, dating, anatomy, music, hamburgers, body type, or fat babies...

Viking Toys (Sweden) make the very best in toddler rollers. When I was pregnant with Ranger, we bought a fleet of these great cars to entertain our visiting toddler niece. We kept them in a basket on the coffee table long after her visit. On more than a few evenings, Jim and I would find ourselves on opposite ends of the living room floor rolling these cars back and forth or absentmindedly trucking them around the coffee table.

With super soft, non-marring rubbery wheels and flexible rubber bodies, these cars take on a luxurious feel. We thought the strange little guys wouldn't roll well on carpet, but it turns out they travel farthest and fastest of our mini-fleet. They flip less than most of our rolling toys thanks to a low center of gravity.

One strange benefit of the soft materials is that cars make less noise (almost none) when dropped in, say, a large solemn, formal service in a grand, stone-floored cathedral. Not that we would know about that firsthand...

Ranger loves that the individual cars can hook together. It's easiest for him to link the 4" ones, so we're getting him some more for Christmas (right now, they're on sale for a great price here). There's a train set (3 4" pieces) for the happy linker.

The 3", 4", and 5" versions get the most play time in our house. While the 10" ambulance (with rolling gurney) gets some play, I think many toddlers prefer toys that fit well in a toddler hand. I like the 3" ones because they fit in my coat pockets and bag pretty easily.

I just found that Viking even makes a disposable playscape placemat (like our beloved Table-Topper) to keep kids tidier and entertained while eating out.

Viking Toys are manufactured in Thailand and haven't been subject to any lead recalls. They are purportedly dishwasher safe, but I don't like the idea of chlorine dish detergent on the axles, so I hand wash them in dish soap or wipe them down as needed.

The smaller versions are a great late infancy/early toddler toy (though they have appeal for a wide range of ages). The 5" versions can have more detail than their smaller counterparts- and they're sometimes sold in themed sets. Slightly older kids get a lot of use out of the 10" Super Chubbies which are more specialized vehicles (tractor, sedan, dump truck, ambulance, a fire engine, and a Woody-esque roofless SUV).

If you get some Viking Chubbies for your household, make sure to share them with your kids.

*This review is the independent, uncompensated, and unsolicited opinion of Baby Toolkit. (c) 2007, all rights reserved.


lace said...

Great review. I have been wanting these cars and completely forgot about them. Your post just reminded me that I had been meaning to purchase these since last Christmas. I must check out that sale.

Nutmeg said...

Awesome. The swede in me loves Viking toys and the mom in me loves your review in general.

I know what my kiddo is getting for his 1st birthday/christmas

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the links for these cars! And thanks for the review! Moe will love them for X-mas!~Karen

Patrick said...

We have a couple of these--the super chubbies dump truck, and a smaller one. They're great to bring to the sandbox, or for long trips. I work at a toy store, and I recommend them all the time to parents and grandparents. The littlest size is one of my standard recommendations for plane rides.

Creative Genius? said...

Hey there

One of the cars was recalled: Just figured you'd want to know!

:-) Alison

adrienne said...

Thanks, Alison-

To recap the recall briefly was on one 10" model (the sedan) sold between June 2005 through August 2005 (about 1900 cars). The heads of the on-board figures could detach- posing a choking hazard.

It appears that Viking recalled the problematic item before any injuries or incidents were reported.

adrienne said...

Here's a clickable link to the Nov. 2005 recall notice.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review and the links to retailers. I'm not sure if it is relevant to those sold in the US, but it appears that Australia has recalled (fall '07) some of the Mini Chubbies sold over there because of a product redesign - it appears the white portion of the tires can come loose.

adrienne said...


I contacted Sue Tice, an American representative for Viking Toys/International Playthings, about the recall.

NONE of the recalled toys were shipped to the US.

Unlike many toy manufacturers "Viking marks the actual date of each production run on the underneath of each vehicle. This makes it easy for us [Viking] to track."

So sleep easy, American Chubbies are not soon to be recalled- and Australian Chubbies presently sold are in good running order.

I got a lightning fast response from Viking on this- it further reinforces my impression that they are a conscientious and proactive company. I'm impressed.

Anonymous said...

They sell these at my local grocery store. I got exhausted fending off the constant "Car! Car! Car!" plea every time I went down that aisle, so I broke down and got a couple ($1.08 each for the 3" ones!). Wow! They are fantastic!!! All the little Tonka and Playskool soft chubby cars have been forgotten in my son's fascination with his new airplane and car. The hardest part was deciding which ones to get, but he loves the propeller on the airplane. Seriously, they're so cute they look like they came from an upscale toy store instead of a spinner rack in the middle of the cereal aisle.

adrienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
adrienne said...

One of the little Chubbies got a chemical analysis by consumer watchdog

It did very well!

See the results for yourself (note: they're measuring in PPM- parts per MILLION so 4ppm is less than minuscule- 4 in a million).

Viking seems to be living up to their corporate commitment to safety!