Noisy Toys are not just annoying - they can be serious threats to the wellness and safety of children and adults alike.
The holiday season is an exciting time of year for all ages. But it’s also a common time for eye injuries.
The tiniest piece of glitter may turn the most wonderful time of year into the most harmful time of year for your eyes.
“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”
The 1983 classic holiday film, A Christmas Story, has had us reciting this memorable quote for years. But it doesn’t just apply to Red Ryder BB Guns. Whether you’re popping open a bottle of champagne or decorating the Christmas tree, your eyes may be in danger.
Some propelling toys, like airsoft guns, arrows, BB guns, paintball guns and darts can be particularly hazardous, with the potential to cause serious eye injuries
Every year the Sight & Hearing Association (SHA) publishes a list of the year’s noisiest toys. This year's list includes 16 out of 20 toys that tested louder than 85 dB, the level set by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety for mandatory hearing protection. The National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) has set 85 dB as the noise level for mandatory hearing protection. Toys are also required to meet standards set by the American Society of Testing and Materials–the sound-pressure levels produced should not be more than 85 dB at 50 cm from the surface of the toy. However, SHA tests the toys at a much closer range of 0-25 cm because it is more realistic given the length of children’s arms and the way they play with toys.
For 2015, SHA tested twenty different toys, with sixteen of them testing above 85 dB. The loudest of the toys, the Animal Babies Nursery, Jumpin’ Lil Monkeys, reached as high as 103.4 dB. Sounds at this level are loud enough to damage hearing within 15 minutes.
Hearing loss does not typically occur from one single event–it is a cumulative process that happens over time. For this reason, it is important to make sure that your child’s hearing is protected, which includes making sure that their toys are not too loud for them.
Parents can do a few things to make it a little quieter this holiday season. SHA recommends testing the toy before you buy it. Webb suggests you, “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. Look for toys that have volume controls and if you must buy a noisy toy, or your child receives a noisy toy as a gift, place clear packing tape over the speaker, it will reduce the sound level enough to make the toy ear-safe.” The University of Minnesota/Department of Otolaryngology and SHA confirmed in a study that covering noise-producing toys with tape or glue will significantly reduce the noise level of a toy, making it safer for children.
What can you do to make sure you protect your child’s hearing this holiday season? Here are a few recommendations from SHA:
Download a smartphone app that can measure sound levels and use it to test the sound level of toys you might buy in the store. Don’t have a smartphone? A good rule to remember is that if the toy sounds too loud for you, then it is too loud for your child.
If you child has a loud toy at home or if they are given one as a gift, place clear packing tape over the speaker. This will help reduce the noise level so that it is safe.
Look for toys that have volume controls so that you are able to set the volume to a safe level.
If you would like to report a toy as being too loud, you can contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at (800) 638-2772 or email your report to SHA at email@example.com.