The Charity Deafness Research UK has suggested that certain Christmas toys are not safe and could hamper children's hearing. This was revealed when 14 toys out of the 15 that were tested, turned out to portray readings that were higher than the prescribed safety limits of 85 decibels.
Among the toys, the noisiest were found to be toy guns, which included a mechanical toy machine gun, a plastic tommy gun and a cap gun. These toys were risky because they could result in immediate hearing loss.
Experts have cautioned against extended exposure to any noise, in the range of 85dBA, which could certainly pose a big risk to hearing. When the toys were verified at a distance of 25cm, which is the normal distance a child would hold the toy, it was observed that eight of the 15 toys recorded average noise levels of 81-105dBA.
Among the toys, the toy gun turned out to be the one that needs to be gunned down, recording the highest reading of 143 decibels at 2.5cm, and 140 decibels at 25cm.
Researcher Dr Brad Backus said: "Children's toys clearly have the potential to do harm to their hearing so it's important that people are aware of the dangers and what to do about them.With most of the toys we tested, apart from the guns, there is a potential for harm but they're safe if used sensibly. With most toys, your child will only damage their hearing if they use them too often and for too long a duration, or if they stick them in their ear."
Dr Backus cautioned parents that their children should be supervised not to hold noisy toys very close to their ear, or allow them to play with the toys for more than 60 minutes a day.
Smiffy's, the toy company that manufactures the brand of guns, which are currently in trouble, have been quick to comment against the allegation saying," Our products are regularly tested to comply with all relevant standards and test compliance certificates are held for the products you mention. We take product safety extremely seriously and would welcome a copy of Dr Backus's report."