Many LEGO sets have minimum age ratings, such as 7-12, 9-14, and 16+. Why is this? Are the models really that different in terms of complexity? Also, why does LEGO often indicate that sets are not recommended for children under 3 separately?
With children 3 and under, small parts may be a choking hazard. The sets that Lego markets to the parents of small children contain larger pieces that are easier to handle and harder to swallow (i.e. Duplo).
When a Lego set recommends "ages 10 and up", it refers more to building ability and patience than safety. These sets are generally more complex and larger than, say, sets an average 8-year-old would be comfortable (or capable) of building. These are only recommendations of course, not rules!
My 8 year old sister is incapable of completing more difficult lego sets but when i was this age, I was already building (and making my own) difficult sets. I would say it depends on many factors.