Leave unsafe toys on the shelf this holiday season

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Sinclair Broadcast Group

Even if you don't have kids, you probably know the obvious toy dangers.

"Toy hazards would be choking, strangulation," said one mother.

"To me the biggest things are sharp items and swallowing hazards."

Choking hazards top the hazard list for small children.

Before you buy for a little one, remember the toilet paper roll rule. If it can fit inside a TP tube, even if it looks too big, it's a choke hazard.

Another top hazard is excessive noise.

This year's national Trouble in Toyland report cautioned about toys that exceed federal noise limits for children.

"Excessive noises can damage a child's hearing, which can cause language delays and learning development problems later in life," said Adam Garber of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Experts say if it sounds loud to you, it's probably too loud for a child's developing eardrums.

Other potential hazards are less obvious. Some toys may have toxic chemicals or heavy metals that you can't see.

"There could be lead or cadmium or other heavy metals," said Nancy Uding of Toxic-Free Future.

Sometimes the label tells you a product is free of known toxins. With many products you can check the manufacturer's website.

"You're going to look for paint ingredients. You're going to look for process information. How was the toy made?" said Joshua Crouch, a toy and play specialist.

With art materials, look for these safety seals from the Art & Creative Materials Institute.

AP means the materials are safe and non-toxic to kids. CL means the materials may pose a health risk.

If you're shopping from an online seller you don't know, make sure you're not buying a toy that has been recalled.

Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website and make sure what you're buying is not on the recall list, and double-check the recalls regularly for all children's products in your home.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says be especially cautious about toys that contain button batteries or small magnets.

They can cause serious stomach, throat and intestinal injuries and even death if swallowed by a small child.