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Tips for Safe-Toy Shopping

Organizations Warn of Dangerous Toys

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The PIRG's report also identified issues with loud toys that have the potential to cause hearing loss. "Let's be realistic, loud toys aren't going to kill children. [But a moderate hearing loss] can be the difference between paying close attention and drifting off" in a classroom later in life, said pediatrician Ben Gitterman, MD, of the Children's National Medical Center and the Mid-Atlantic for Children's Health and the Environment, also at the news conference. Asked whether hearing loss later in life could be directly traced to loud toys, Gitterman conceded that it couldn't, but he insisted that the "precautionary principle" should be applied in case such a relationship does exist.

And if you already have loud toys buzzing about the house? Put masking tape over the speakers, or remove the battery, said Thompson.

Better yet, "If it seems too loud, don't buy it," said industry spokeswoman Johnston. That may be the best advice of all.

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