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South African Journal of Child Health

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Noise levels of toys for children between the ages of birth and 3 years in South Africa

K Joubert, M Ellis

Abstract


Objectives. To describe the noise levels of popular hand-held, tabletop, crib and close-to-the-ear toys for children between the ages of birth
and 3 years in South Africa.
Design. A quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive research design was employed for this study.
Subjects. Twenty toys, 5 from each of 4 categories, were chosen from a popular toy store in South Africa. The noise levels of these toys were measured using a sound level meter in a quiet room. The frequency spectra of the noise were analysed and compared with current international standards relating to toy safety.
Results. The majority of toys adhere to the current American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International standards for toy noise. Frequency spectra analysis revealed that the loudest continuous noise levels for all toys were recorded at the frequencies that are the most important for hearing speech.
Conclusions. There is a need to develop standards for the maximum sound output of toys, and compulsory introduction of warnings about
the noise levels of toys on the packaging and adherence to ASTM International standards for toy manufacturers are recommended.



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