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"Trouble in Toyland Report" reveals dangerous toys to avoid this holiday shopping season

CBS New York speaks to experts about dangerous toys to avoid this holiday shopping season
CBS New York speaks to experts about dangerous toys to avoid this holiday shopping season 02:13

HARTFORD, Conn. -- It's the time of year when toys fly off store and virtual store shelves, but some can be dangerous to play with.

CBS New York has tips to find the perfect gift by shedding light on gifts that are not safe for your kids.

"I have a warning for every gift giver this holiday season: do not buy water beads," said Ashley Haugen, founder of That Water Bead lady. "The agony and unbearable pain of seeing your child in a hospital bed, weak, suffering is every parent's worst nightmare."

Fighting tears, Haugen shared her story at Connecticut Children's Medical Center on Monday in the hope of saving lives. At just 1 year old, her daughter, Kipley, became brutally ill.

"The hardest thing is remembering being in that waiting room and just wondering what had happened," Haugen said. "We use adult supervision. We have separate play areas for the girls. We followed all the best advice."


Somehow, Kipley swallowed the brightly colored, promoted non-toxic water beads. They caused an obstruction in her small intestine, put her at risk for life-long intestinal issues, and caused a brain injury.

"We want to ban them, very simply," Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal led the press conference on Monday aimed at highlighting the Public Interest Research Group's "Trouble in Toyland Report." He shared water beads led to 7,800 hospitalizations between 2016 and 2022 and at least one death.

Button batteries are another risk that was highlighted in the report.

"My daughter, Reese, ingested a button battery in October of 2020," said Trsita Hamsmith, founder of Reese's Purpose.

Hamsmith said the battery burned a hole in her daughter's esophagus and through her trachea. After spending nearly two months hospitalized, Reese passed away.

"My challenge to everyone is to know where these batteries are in your home," Hamsmith said.

READ MOREFisher-Price recalling some Thomas & Friends trucks over choking hazard

Hamsmith also fought for "Reese's Law," alongside Sen. Blumenthal, which passed in August of 2022.

"Now, Consumer Products Safety Commission will be required to establish regulations that protect children against these button batteries," Blumenthal said.

Counterfeit toys pose serious risk to children, too. Many come from overseas and do not meet strict U.S. safety standards. Joan Lawrence, the senior vice president of safety standards the Toy Association shared an example. First, there was the legitimate toy: Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty.

"The product, itself, comes well labeled with the proper age, grade and proper warning," Lawrence said.

It comes with a magnet.

"This one is not small enough to be ingested, based on the toy safety standards," Lawrence said.

The counterfeit putty actually boasts a baby on the lid.

"This knockoff type comes with a very small, powerful magnet," that could easily be swallowed, Lawrence said.

READ MORECheck out some of the hottest toys from this year's North American International Toy Fair at Javits Center

Here are Lawrence's tips to avoid buying counterfeits: Shop with a seller you know and trust, look for typos or inconsistencies in product description, and if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Another focus of the "Trouble in Toyland Report" is smart toys. Experts urge parents to weigh the educational value of the toy against the risk of making personal information vulnerable to hackers. Always read the toy specific privacy policy.

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