If you take a walk down any toy isle, most of the toys you will see say TRY ME. The majority of toys these days that are seen and advertised either sing, play music, speak, or have sound effects. While these toys are designed to entertain and entice your child, are they the best toys for them?
As a Speech-language pathologist, my answer is No. There are two reasons why these noisy toys are not the best and are actually not necessarily good for your child.
The first reason is that by being so enticing and entertaining, your child is self sufficient playing with these toys. They don’t need imagination and they don’t need to interact with anyone. This limits the amount of social interaction and language they are being exposed to.
The second reason is that in the Toy Regulations of the CANADA CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY ACT, these noisy toys are allowed to have a maximum decibel (volume) level of 100 dB. This decibel level is akin to a motorcycle driving by, a car horn or a sporting event, all of which can cause hearing damage after just FIFTEEN minutes. Research shows that noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. (CDC website)
So does that mean you shouldn’t buy noisy toys? Also No, but if you do, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Interact with your child while they are playing with them. These toys are great for core words like ‘again’, ‘more’, ‘stop’, ‘go’.
- If the toy has a volume button, always keep it on the lowest volume.
If the toy doesn’t have a volume button, Consider one of these ideas from Noisy Planet:
- Consider putting masking or packing tape over the toy’s speaker
- Test out toys in the store to check sound levels before buying them. Ask yourself, “Is this too loud?” If so, find another toy with a softer sound. Also ask, “Can I control the volume on the toy and maintain a lower level of noise output?”
- Limit “screen time” to cut back on noise. Televisions, tablet computers, and video games contribute to high sound levels in the home
- Avoid competing noises in the same area. Tell your kids they can turn on only one toy at a time.
– Miss Brynn