How safe are your Christmas toys?

Channel 4: Dispatches

Reporter Deborah Davies and producer Karen Edwardes reveal that many top-selling toys incorporate tiny but powerful magnets the toy companies now know can kill and seriously injure children who swallow them. The film shows how the companies have carried on using these magnets despite hundreds of complaints worldwide from parents including dozens whose children have needed emergency surgery for life threatening injuries. The magnets are a key feature in many of this Christmas's most popular toys.


The team tracked down details of dozens of children around the world injured after swallowing this type of magnet. One of the first victims tells Dispatches that in 2000 when she was nine years old she collapsed and started vomiting green bile after accidentally swallowing twelve of these tiny magnets while pretending they were lip studs. Doctors told her mother that she would have died without an emergency operation.


Interviewed by Dispatches, the surgeon who saved her life said he was surprised and shocked the magnets are still being used. 'Obviously toy manufacturers don't read medical literature."


The team also filmed undercover, buying dozens of toys from shops and markets in major British cities. After testing fifty per cent were found to be illegal, and twenty per cent dangerous. Hard-pressed trading standards officers tell Dispatches they no longer have the staff or the money to combat the flood of shoddily made and counterfeit toys arriving in the UK.


"disturbing … genuinely shocking"
- Daily Mail


"An excellent, timely documentary"
- The Observer

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How safe are your Christmas toys?, Channel 4: Dispatches | Quicksilver Media