BOSTON (CAP) - The national consumer watchdog group responsible for tallying potentially hazardous toys that should be avoided at Christmastime has come out with a revised list for this year. Consumers Rallying Against Products has expanded its 'worst toy' list to include most musical instruments.
"We have conducted extensive testing of dozens of instruments and must recommend that consumers avoid them all," said CRAP president Joshua Holmes. "We suggest parents sit their children down with a nice iPod or Nintendo DS instead."
At issue are the manufacturing specifications for manual musical instruments that fail to include any sort of volume control with the devices, leaving parents with no oversight regarding the decibel level and type of sound that emerges from the service end of the toys. CRAP says it's a glitch the instrument industry should have corrected years ago.
"A child can damage their hearing and that of everyone within earshot when they try to hit some of those notes on many of these instruments," said Holmes. "Take this one known as the clarinet. Clean your ear wax right out, it will. And you'll never listen to Benny Goodman the same again."
Holmes denies that his association issued the recommendation at the urging of local parental groups who "just want a peaceful Christmas morning for a change." Anti-advocacy group Mothers Against Everything says CRAP's "miniscule" list of hazardous toys pales in comparison to its quarterly 128-page tome detailing all the toys parents should avoid.
"I'd rather have my kid suck the lead paint off some toy made in China than have to listen to that cacophony," said MAE spokesperson Darlene Fortenski. "Ever seen the reed in a saxophone? Germ factory right there.
"Speaking of, we just added the Fisher Price Germ Factory to our list of bad toys," Fortenski added. "Really should be ages 8 and up, not ages 4 and up. I swear nobody gives these things any thought."
Holmes said parents who insist their child is musically gifted really should enroll him or her in lessons that take place outside of the home in the presence of a trained professional whose tolerance level can withstand the abuse placed upon the hapless instruments at the hands of tone deaf children. However, if that is not possible, then an electronic instrument with a volume control and demo function can be substituted.
"Having your child pretend to play along with the demo song on that Casio keyboard is a workable solution," said Holmes. "However, more than ten back-to-back iterations of a keyboard demo song has been known to cause insanity to any adults within 30 feet, so close parental supervision is still a must."
While it falls outside of their purview, CRAP also recommends that parents avoid allowing children to band together and sing Christmas carols to non-family members in public. Research has found that an adult male's penchant for turning to a life of crime increases exponentially with every rendition of Frosty The Snowman to which they are subjected by adolescent boys and girls.
- CAP News Staff