As you start your holiday shopping this year, keep your ear out for toys that are necessarily loud. The Sight & Hearing Association (SHA) keeps close tabs on the noise makers that catch our kids attentions. Kathy Webb, the executive director of SHA, said in a recent press release, “Test a toy before you buy it. It’s okay to push buttons and rattle toys as you walk through the toy aisle and if a toy is too loud for you, it will be too loud for your child.” Webb also stated, “Look for toys that have volume controls and if you must buy a noisy toy this holiday season, or your child receives a noisy toy as a gift, you can place clear packing tape over the speaker which will reduce the sound level enough to make the toy ear-safe.”
SHA rates toys based on how loud they are when they’re held a child’s arm length away, about 10 inches, and also when they’re held up to the ear. “We test toys based on how a child would play with a toy, not how an adult would play with it,” Webb said. “If you watch a child playing with a noise-producing toy, you will see them hold it close to their face, next to their ears or closer than arms length.”
The loudest toy on SHA’s list is Disney’s Doc McStuffin Rockin’ Doc Sing-Along Boombox, which registers 106.4 dB when held to the ear and 84.8 dB when held at a child’s arm length. To put that in perspective, a typical lawn mower runs at 90 dB; imagine that noise right next to your ear! Young children don’t
The Sing-Along Boombox is designed for just that, playing both songs from the TV show as well as from your own iPod. The toy is recommended for children aged three years and up, still too young to understand the potential dangers of putting the toy to close to their ears.
The Sight and Hearing Association recommends using a free sound level meter app on smartphones. Although not perfect, it will give you an idea of how loud your child’s toys are. Even easier, if you feel like the toy is too loud for you, it is too loud for your child. They also recommend checking return policies with stores. If a loud toy enters your house this holiday season, you may be able to return it, if you can get it away from your child.
For more information, check out the Sight and Hearing Association’s website: http://sightandhearing.org/Services/NoisyToysList%C2%A9.aspx