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Are Fast Food Kid Meals Age-appropriate?

You may have noticed a bunch of back and forth on Dadding lately about the lure of fast food, and, if you read the comments, which drive-thru window is most likely to slam shut on the hopes, dreams, and obesity rate of you and your loved ones. Answer: All of them. But that’s not why I’m here.

My bone with fast food restaurants isn’t about the pink slime nuggets or the calorie count of a burger bigger than Rhode Island, although those are ample reason for concern and moderation, but rather the marketing of the toys that often accompany the respective kid meals that most fast food chains relentlessly advertise.

To be clear, I am not against toys in kid meals, which was all the rage last season. In fact, I’m a fan. The nostalgia factor of Happy Meal toys plays a big part with me, as does the rare instance when a featured toy is something that my boys and I are equally invested in, like Star Wars or the latest family hit from Disney. However, sometimes the toys, as fun and innocent as they may appear, are not appropriate.

I’m talking about the common practice of featuring toys from movies rated PG-13 in meals aimed at 5-year-olds. I just don’t get it.

Sure, The Avengers is an awesome film, and despite its rating I took my 8-year-old to see it, and yes, both of my boys watch the cartoon series by the same name — so what’s the big deal about putting an Iron Man toy in a kid’s meal? Probably nothing.

Except that my youngest son hasn’t seen the movie, and he won’t see it for at least a couple of years, because he’s six, and frankly, he isn’t ready to trade his last days of innocence for big screen violence, no matter how cartoonish it may be.

Still, it’s just a cheap toy in a cardboard box full of processed foods that he probably shouldn’t be eating, so is it worth getting upset about? I don’t know.

Iron Man is pretty awesome.

For more Dadding fast food opinions read: Serge likes McDonald’s, Cody likes Burger King, and Mike steams kale.

Whit Honea can be found writing about whatever he feels like at his personal site Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony) and DadCentric. If you’re really bored you can follow him on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).

Also from Whit:

Do Your Kids Know How to be Popular?

There is a Monster at the End of This Video Game

Kids Vs. Spouse

The Huff and Puff of Big, Bad Dad

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