12 February 2006

Muffling noisy toys

Andie is more honest than we are when it comes to obnoxiously loud toys:

My son has a few toys that are simply louder than loud. Our solution until recently has been to either a) let the batteries run out and tell him that the toy is broken (I know, shame on us) or b) remove the batteries before he realizes that the toy even makes sounds.

Although our tactics have kinda worked, they are just too deceptive, and I already have a guilt complex. I was speaking to a neighbor about loud kid toys, and she had a fantastic idea: put packing tape over the toy's speaker. It will muffle the siren song of most toys enough so that they won't drive mom & dad crazy, but will still allow Junior to enjoy the sound of the toy.

When my son was a toddler, he would have made it his personal mission to remove the tape, thereby causing a noisy (and sticky) problem.

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I used to stick cotton under the speaker of the toy...so there was no tape to pick at.

I did a piece on it here:


This isn't just a matter of annoyance. As I wrote a while back, loud toys can actually damage kids' hearing (http://tinyurl.com/cjrhc). (My post includes a link to a Lifehacker tip on how to use screwdriver and wire cutters to disable the speakers on toys. It also links to resources from the Sight and Hearing Association on how to test and fix loud toys.)

thin foam under duct tape works for me

I tried to disable the song playing feature in a hand-me-down sit and spin, but my daughter apparently had experience with that specific model at daycare. She was aware of the ruse and quite upset and declared it 'bwoken. :pout:'.


Packaging tape sounds like a good plan, but perhaps on the inside of the speaker?

Echoing Jill, duct tape works wonders over a toy speaker. Our 2.5 year-old son got a talking Elmo doll for his birthday, and it's just too loud. Fortunately, the doll has the velcro opening on the back, so I was able to pull out the voice box and tape over the speaker.

I did the same with a sound-and-light butterfly toy he got at his one-year birthday party. I couldn't believe a toy designed for that young of an age child was that incredibly loud.

a friend of mine figured out that if you pull the toy apart and put a capacitor in the circuit between the sound generator and the speaker, you can cut the volume to a tolerable level.

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