From the BBC:
Many toys available this Christmas could damage a child’s hearing, the charity Deafness Research UK warns. Fourteen of 15 toys tested produced noise levels above the recommended safety limit of 85 decibels (dBA) when held close to the ear.
According to a press release from Deafness Research UK:
The most dangerous toys by far were found to be toy guns. [Three of those tested] were found to have noise levels that exceed recommended limits, making them the most dangerous toys available on the high street. These guns have the potential to cause serious damage to your child’s hearing and could cause instant hearing loss.
Bradford Backus, of UCL’s Ear Institute, who was involved with the study, says that the toy guns were so loud that they left his ears ringing for some time after he tested them. He recommends advises parents to ensure that their children do not hold noisy toys close to their ears, or o let them play with them for longer than an hour a day.
The noisiest toy tested was Smithy’s Detective Gun, which registered a reading of 143 decibels when held at a distance of 2.5cm from the ear – the equivalent of a real gun, or a jet engine at take off [PDF]. Also tested was the V-Tech Tiny Touch Phone (above left). My son was given one of these as a present earlier this year. Fortunately, he rarely plays with it, probably because he’s bright enough to know that it’s not the real thing. He much prefers his parents’ mobile phones. Nevertheless, I’ll be removing the batteries from his V-Tech Tiny Touch Phone as soon as I get home.