ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- As holiday shopping picks up over the next few weeks, it's important to keep safety in mind when it comes to presents for our little ones.
Penny Lentz, a coalition coordinator for Safe Kids Winnebago County, says there were 17 toy related deaths in 2018 and more than 200,000 admissions to the hospital related to toy injuries nationwide.
When it comes to choosing toys, Lentz says make sure you're following age recommendations, avoid anything with tiny pieces and, if you're buying a bike, don't forget to to grab a helmet. Safety shouldn't be an afterthought.
"Some of the misconceptions are that all the toys on the shelf are safe, because if they've been recalled they're pulled off the shelves," says Lentz. "But they're not recalled until usually an injury happens with the child, so we have to try and anticipate some of the injuries that may happen."
Penny advises parents to choose books and activities that can be done as a family since they are the safest choice.