TODAY   |  November 29, 2012

Rossen Reports: Dangerous toys could harm your kids

Authorities recalled dozens of toys this year and blocked millions more from getting to stores, but some harmful toys still remain on the market that have the potential to send your child to the hospital. TODAY’s Jeff Rossen reports on what you need to know to keep your kids safe on Christmas.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 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, 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 ,