Oy. The whole list makes me so happy we don't have television!! I don't have to listen to a bombardment of commercials for toys that:
- will never be put together because even a rocket scientist would have trouble figuring out which part goes where
- parents pray the batteries die before they surrender to the urge to stomp poor Tickle Me Elmo into a furry little pile of lovable monster goo, guaranteeing years of expensive therapy for little Timmy as well as the waste of about $50 and three hours in line
- are only the hot toys because the media keeps billing them as the hot toy... and only a dozen are available on each continent
- will be played with for exactly 3.2 seconds
- the box will be played with longer than the toy
Why are all the hot toys so noisy? My mom always thought I was kind of a meany, not letting my kids have toys that make annoying electronic sounds. Those damn things are just too loud!! Little Sis had a ducky in the pond game that was so loud we put cotton and duct tape over the speaker. I've always said those toys are loud enough to damage hearing. Guess what? Turns out I was right.
Toys Sampled -- Decibel Level
- High School Musical Rockerz Jammin Guitar -- 106
- Cheetah Girls - In Concert Collection Doll -- 104
- Hannah Montana - In Concert Collection Doll -- 103
- VTech V.Smile Baby -- 103
- CAT Motorized Dump Truck -- 102
- Tickle Me Elmo -- 100
- Transformers Trans-portable Activity Center -- 99
- Tonka Lights and Sounds Hummer -- 97
- Bob the Builder Deluxe Talking Tool Belt -- 96
- Bosch Toy Chainsaw -- 95
- Tickle Me Cookie Monster -- 94
- Little People Dump Truck -- 92
- Cabbage Patch Kids Babies -- 91
- Leap Frog Learning Lily -- 90
- Tickle Me Ernie -- 90
- Playskool Gloworm -- 85
- Little People School Bus -- 80
Now, compare those numbers to the OSHA safety levels:
TABLE G-16 - PERMISSIBLE NOISE EXPOSURES (1) ______________________________________________________________ | Duration per day, hours | Sound level dBA slow response ____________________________|_________________________________ | 8...........................| 90 6...........................| 92 4...........................| 95 3...........................| 97 2...........................| 100 1 1/2 ......................| 102 1...........................| 105 1/2 ........................| 110 1/4 or less................| 115 ____________________________|________________________________ Footnote(1) When the daily noise exposure is composed of two or more periods of noise exposure of different levels, their combined effect should be considered, rather than the individual effect of each. If the sum of the following fractions: C(1)/T(1) + C(2)/T(2) C(n)/T(n) exceeds unity, then, the mixed exposure should be considered to exceed the limit value. Cn indicates the total time of exposure at a specified noise level, and Tn indicates the total time of exposure permitted at that level. Exposure to impulsive or impact noise should not exceed 140 dB peak sound pressure level.
Or compare those decibel levels to the environmental sounds you'd generally try to avoid exposing your child to:
|Weakest sound heard||0dB|
|Whisper Quiet Library||30dB|
|Normal conversation (3-5')||60-70dB|
|Telephone dial tone||80dB|
|City Traffic (inside car)||85dB|
|Train whistle at 500', Truck Traffic||90dB|
|Subway train at 200'||95dB|
|Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss||90 - 95dB|
|Power mower at 3'||107dB|
|Power saw at 3'||110dB|
|Sandblasting, Loud Rock Concert||115dB|
|Pneumatic riveter at 4'||125dB|
|Even short term exposure can cause permanent damage - Loudest recommended exposure WITHhearing protection||140dB|
|Jet engine at 100', Gun Blast||140dB|
|Death of hearing tissue||180dB|
|Loudest sound possible||194dB|
I don't understand why toys need to have electronic sounds at all. Whatever happened to kids and imagination? I remember when Teddy Ruxpin came out, and I thought it was just plain creepy. A.G. Bear hit the market about the same time. I thought A. G. was kind of cool. Kids could talk to him, and he'd answer...in bear talk. So the imagination would still be at work. A.G. could be asking for pizza for dinner, a bubble bath, or a cotton candy unicorn - it was all up to the child. Teddy Ruxpin would only ask for whatever his tape said, clearly understood by every adult in the room. How boring could that be? Ok, I admit, we had some fun putting Ozzy tapes in the Teddy Ruxpin, which did make him the coolest bear on the block for at least ten minutes.
If kids have to make noise, I'm all for banging on pots and pans for a few minutes a day. I'll admit, that's probably a pretty high decibel range, but trust me, it never goes on for an extended period of time. Not like some electronic toy that refuses to shut off. Little Sis once had an ABC Elmo toy that would start talking, all by itself, from the back of the closet. Nothing like hearing Elmo from the dark depths of the closet at 2 a.m. Which would probably explain the bullet hole in the closet door. ;)
You know, it's probably a good thing that kids would rather play with the boxes than the toys that came in them. How many of us can remember cardboard rocket ships that could instantly become race cars or houses?
A few years ago there was a revival of the old toys: the pull along Fisher Price dog, spinning tops, wooden blocks and the like. But the last time I looked, I couldn't find anything like that. Every stinking thing made electronic noise, batteries included, no imagination required.
*shrugs* I guess in a world of Wii, when going outside is just too much trouble, it's just what we should expect? I remember, as a child, long evenings outdoors, begging to stay outside just a few more minutes. It was the same for my children: outside till well after dark, catching fireflies and swatting mosquitoes, coming inside sweaty and dirty and heading straight for the bathtub.
I feel very fortunate to live here in the woods, where Little Sis (the baby of the family and the only one that is still technically a kid) has grown up with a full-on love of nature and a vibrant imagination. She'd still rather be outside or buried in a book than shopping or playing video games.
I realize not everyone has the advantage of living smack in the middle of the woods. But that doesn't mean kids need to spend their days glued to the tv or video games, especially the younger children, in the years when imagination plays such an important role in development.
As for the hot toys, who needs 'em? Turn off the tv, and suddenly the toys are no longer such hot items. Just think of the money you'll save on hearing aids!
Stepping off my soapbox now. :)