Sinclair Cares: Choosing age-appropriate toys

The U.S. has strict safety standards that every toy must meet, from its physical parts to its chemical makeup. (WBFF)

A consumer product safety group says one child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury.

With two sets of twins, Lisa DeLuca is a busy mother.

"The boys are 5 and the girls are 2," she said.

When it comes time for holiday shopping, she has two very different ages she's looking for.

"The boys are a little older, so they're into the smaller pieces. They like Legos, and that's tougher for the girls because they'll pick up pieces and put them toward their mouth," DeLuca said.

Toys for older children will have small parts, and it's important to keep those away from those younger children.

Joan Lawrence, the senior vice president of safety affairs for The Toy Association, said age awareness is the biggest thing shoppers need to pay attention to.

To see if a toy is safe, use a toilet paper roll. If the part fits into the roll, it's too small for kids ages 3 and younger.

Lawrence said you can still get the products, just keep them away from the younger kids.

"You can look on a package and you will see it will be marked -- by law, it has to be marked -- when it has small parts. Make sure you keep an eye out for those labels," Lawrence said.

The U.S. has strict safety standards that every toy must meet, from its physical parts to its chemical makeup.

Consumers should always inspect the toys themselves. Look for defects or poor design.

If you're ordering online, you also want to be careful where you're ordering from.

"We always recommend that you shop with a retailer that you know and trust. You want to go with someone you know will be around if there's ever an issue," Lawrence said.

Read online reviews, look for the age grade and safety guidelines and pay attention to recalls so if there is an issue, you can catch it quickly.

"You know they're doing their job, that you're going to be safe and your kids will be safe. So, I actually appreciate it and a recall is just a way to tell parents it could happen to you, but hopefully it doesn't," DeLuca said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a list of toy recalls.

See more stories from Sinclair Cares on how to choose toys appropriate for children.

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