1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Rossen Reports: Dangerous toys could harm your kids

  1. Closed captioning of: Rossen Reports: Dangerous toys could harm your kids

    >>> unsafe toys. how the government is cracking down. today national investigative correspondent jeff rossen is here with more.

    >> good morning. a lot of people out there holiday shopping. and we are talking about millions of dangerous toys here that are headed right to the stores you may shop in. authorities were able to intercept them before they reached the shelves, but at least one product is still on the market today that officials say could send your child to the hospital. this morning, what you can look for in your home right now to protect your kids. the mad rush to grab the season's hottest toys, but authorities say it's not all child's play. from tricycles --

    >> these little fairies cause lacerations --

    >> to infant rattles.

    >> this will go down the throat.

    >> even these action figures with dangerous levels of lead. authorities recalled dozens of toys this year. and blocked millions more from even getting to stores.

    >> we see it in the reports, we don't let them in the country.

    >> reporter: out this morning with alarming new numbers. 13 kids killed while playing with toys last year alone. with more than 193,000 children injured. one of the major causes, high-powered magnets. kids can't resist. 3-year-old peyton suddenly got sick.

    >> i really didn't think much of it until later that morning when she started to vomit. and we just thought it was the typical stomach flu .

    >> it wasn't the flu. peyton had swallowed 37 little magnets called bucky balls . they connected together inside her body squeezing her intestines. here's the x-ray, looks like a bracelet in there.

    >> they had to make an incision on the stomach to retrieve the magnets.

    >> reporter: bucky balls are unsafe for children, yet they're still on the market.

    >> why can't you recall them and say you can't sell them anymore?

    >> the company was asked to recall them and the company refused.

    >> reporter: now they are taking bucky balls to court. the company says it'll fight the lawsuit that the product is marketed to adults and when used properly, people don't get hurt. but now, the feds are cracking down on dangerous toys before they hit the stores. armed with tough new laws, they're inspecting toys right as the shipments come in from overseas. these toys were deemed safe, but 2 million others have been seized. including these action figures , toy guns , and mini motorized cars all with high levels of lead.

    >> we are targeting these containers. actually opening up the boxes, taking a look at them, tearing them apart, making sure, testing them to the degree that we can on-site that they are, in fact, safe for the consumption of our children.

    >> reporter: but inspectors only check a small percentage of toys. officials say it comes down to parents. sometimes the toys are just fine, it's the kids using them wrong. in fact, the number one cause of child injuries last year, kids falling off scooters.

    >> scooters are incredibly popular, especially in my house, they always have to wear helmets, right?

    >> absolutely, and you need the knee pads and elbow pads .

    >> it's not always the toy design, you need the parent watching them.

    >> safe toy plus supervision equals a happy holiday .

    >> sure does. the toy industry says safety is a priority and toy companies work with the government and experts to make sure their products are safe. the pest advice here, you want to read the warning labels before you buy any presents. you also want to make sure the toys are age appropriate. and this one is important, you can check to see what toys have been recalled because you may have them in your home right now. we have a link on our website at today.com, go to the rossen reports section, we have it all laid out there for you. you want to do that before you shop. and some parents have an excuse not to buy any toys.

    >> that's not the take away of the segment. jeff rossen ,

By
TODAY
updated 11/29/2012 7:38:10 AM ET 2012-11-29T12:38:10

Unsafe toys that can injure children may still be on store shelves, but the government is cracking down. TODAY National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen reports.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Needles and dating: 8 things I wish I'd known before freezing my eggs

      When it was revealed that Facebook and Apple are paying for women employees to freeze their eggs, young women who'd not th...

    2. Police respond to shooting report at Washington school
    3. Barbie, but no 'Breaking Bad'? Aaron Paul slams Toys 'R Us for pulling figures
    4. Pippa Middleton reveals the 4 workout moves behind her toned body
    5. Harrowing week ends well for parents shocked by quadruplet pregnancy

The mad rush to grab the season's hottest toys has started, but authorities say it's not all child's play. From tricycles to infant rattles to action figures, authorities have recalled dozens of unsafe toys this year and blocked millions more from even getting to stores.

Click here for the CPSC list of recalled toys.

“We seize them at the ports. We don't let them into the country,” Inez Tenenbaum, chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, told us.

The commission released alarming new numbers Thursday, revealing that more than 193,000 children were injured while playing with toys last year and 13 kids were killed.

Have an idea for Rossen Reports? Email us by clicking here!

One of the major causes is high-powered magnets kids can’t resist. It was the reason 3-year-old Payton Bushnell suddenly got sick.

Story: Rossen Reports: More kids getting hurt in bounce houses

“I really didn't think much of it until…she started to vomit,” Payton’s mother said. “And we just thought it was the typical stomach flu.”

It wasn't the flu. Payton had swallowed 37 little magnets called Buckyballs. They connected together inside her body, squeezing her intestines.

  1. More Rossen Reports
    1. Rossen Reports: Kids can sleep through smoke alarms, experts say
      TODAY
    2. Rossen Reports: Are child safety caps enough to keep kids out?
    3. Hotel chains devalue loyalty rewards points
    4. Rossen Reports: Potentially dangerous cars for sale
    5. How to check whether your vehicle has an unfixed safety recall

The CPSC says Buckyballs are unsafe for children, yet they're still on the market.

“Why can't you just recall them and say, ‘you can't sell these anymore?’” we asked Tenebaum.

“The company was asked to recall them and the company refused,” she said.

Now the CPSC is taking Buckyballs to court. The company told us it'll fight the lawsuit: they say the product is marketed to adults and, when it's used properly, people don't get hurt.

Story: Rossen Reports: Fruit on food labels — are you being misled?

But now the Feds are cracking down on dangerous toys before they even hit the stores. Armed with tough new laws, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and CPSC officials at the ports are inspecting toys right as the shipments arrive from overseas. Two million toys have been seized, including action figures, toy guns and mini-motorized cars, all with high levels of lead.

But officers only check a small percentage of toys. Officials say it comes down to parents. Sometimes the toys are fine and it's the kids using them wrong. In fact, the No. 1 cause of child injuries last year was kids falling off scooters, which are incredibly popular.

“They always have to wear helmets, right?” we asked.

“Absolutely… and you also need the knee pads and the elbow pads,” Tenenbaum said.

It's not always the toy design. You need the parent watching them.

Read more investigative journalism from Rossen Reports

“A safe toy plus supervision equals a happy holiday,” Tenenbaum said.

The toy industry says safety is a priority, and toy companies work with the government and experts to make sure their products are safe. 

The best advice for avoiding a toy injury is to read warning labels before you buy presents and make sure the toys are age-appropriate. Also check to see what toys have been recalled so you can make sure you don't have them at home right now.

To read full statements from the Toy Industry Association and Maxfield and Oberton, click here.

To see the CPSC recalled toy list, click here.

Have an idea for a future edition of Rossen Reports? We want to hear from you! To send us your ideas, click here.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Courtesy of Robyn Ross

    Needles and dating: 8 things I wish I'd known before freezing my eggs

    10/24/2014 2:50:23 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T14:50:23
Breaking news
  1. Police respond to shooting report at Washington school

    Police were seen escorting students from Marysville-Pilchuck High School, near Seattle, which was in lockdown.

    10/24/2014 6:33:28 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T18:33:28
  1. Alex Wong / Getty Images

    ‘Fortunate and blessed’: Ebola-infected nurse Nina Pham to go home

    10/24/2014 3:05:30 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T15:05:30
  1. John Bazemore / AP file

    There goes 'Honey Boo Boo': TLC cancels reality series amid scandal

    10/24/2014 4:38:39 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T16:38:39
  1. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

    8 things we learned about the latest Duggar pregnancy

    10/24/2014 5:14:25 PM +00:00 2014-10-24T17:14:25
  1. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

    Don’t panic: Why Ebola won’t become an epidemic in New York

    10/24/2014 11:55:02 AM +00:00 2014-10-24T11:55:02