As the holiday season is upon us, many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are purchasing toys for the children in their lives and many of these are noisy toys. Many toys have the potential to harm hearing if held too closely to the ears and face, and this can lead to serious communication and learning difficulties in the future. The National Coalition on Noisy Toys exists to educate parents about noisy toys ad provide them with practical information that will assist in making toy purchases, especially over the busy holiday season. Toys, and even toys that make noise are an important part of childhood development but we want everyone to be aware and buy SAFE toys. It's all about PREVENTION!
Children are especially at risk to noise because their bodies are still developing. When children play they generally hold toys close to their ears. This may be safe for the majority of toys, certain toys can pose a danger to your child's hearing. The risk depends on the noise level at the child's ear and how long the child is exposed to the noise. Toys are regulated under the Hazardous Products Act by Health Canada. Toys that emit levels exceeding 100 decibels (dB) are banned. Whistles or toy cap guns can reach levels of 110 to 135 dB. This is similar to the noise of a rock concert or jet flyover!
Consider the following safety tips when buying toys:
- Choose toys with an on/off button.
- Choose toys with a volume control.
- Check for noise level labels on toys.
- Limit playtime with noisy toys.
- Listen to the toy before making a purchase.
- Teach children the proper way to play with their toys. Toys should be played with at arm's length.
- Purchase alternate toys such as books and puzzles that target language and literacy skills.
As a rule of thumb, if you have to raise your voice above the noise level of a toy to be heard, than the noise is too loud and could be causing damage to your child's hearing.