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Watch out for dangerous toys, counterfeit products, U.S. Customs and Border Protection warns

6:03 PM, Dec 23, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC MIAMI) -- Action figures, toy trucks, and princess kits often make it on a child's Christmas list, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants parents to take extra precautions.

"Just take a little bit of time before you open up your wallet and bring out the credit card or the cash, and take a look at the product," Roland Suliveras of Customs and Border Protection said at a news conference in Miami on Wednesday.

The federal agency warns parents about dolls that give a toddler easy access to its batteries, and toys that contain high levels of lead in the paint. Having direct access to those batteries would cause the toddlers bodily harm, Suliveras said.

Many of these products arrive in the U.S. through Miami International Airport or PortMiami, and then make their way to other parts of the country.

"This year we actually ranked in the top 5 for seizures in [intellectual property rights]," said Suliveras.

Large quantities of counterfeit smartphones and pirated DVDs also make their way to South Florida during the holiday season.

"You're spending a lot of good money on some of these products, and they're actually fake," Suliveras said.

One way to find out if a toy is dangerous is by doing a drop test at home. To perform this test you literally drop a toy on the floor.

"Depending upon what falls off this toy, or how it actually breaks, then we'll look at it to find out if it's actually now dangerous for a child," Suliveras said.

CBP also encourages consumers to do some online research before buying products online or in stores.

Laura Rodriguez, NBC Miami

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