The noise from toys can be devastating to the hearing of little girls and little boys.
Some common infant toys, including some rattles, musical toys, toy phones and toy guns are dangerously noisy and should, literally, be kept out of the reach of their intended users. Some toys close up produce noise limits worse than the noise from the take-off of a jetliner, according to measurements published in the United States by the League for the Hard of Hearing.
Do not expect to find adequate warnings on the toys or their packaging. Noise rules and regulations for toys are non-existent.
The dangers are not always apparent to the parents or care givers in nursery schools.
In the hands of an adult, a noisy toy may seem loud but harmless, because the adult person holds the toy at arms length. But always be aware, that to an infant with much shorter arms and an immature and sensitive hearing, the noise from a toy held close to an ear may do serious and lifelong damage.
The League for the Hard of Hearing points out that many of today's noisy toys indicate on the packaging that they conform to Safety Requirements of ASTM F963, the American Society for Testing and Materials. The Safety Requirements state that toys shall not produce impulsive noises with an instantaneous sound pressure level exceeding 138 dB when measured at any position 25cm (8 inches) from the surface of the toy. This is louder than the sound of a jetliner taking off or the sound of a jack-hammer.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have regulations addressing the loudness of toys. But in the workplace, grownups are protected by safety standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, OSHA. OSHA states that continued exposure to noise levels above 85 dB will eventually damage your hearing.
Source: League for the Hard of Hearing, 2003.
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