Banning Happy Meal Toys?


Say goodbye to applesauce and baby formula. 16-month old Trenton Hurst is now feasting on chicken nuggets, and that's not the only thing you'll find in his lunch bag...

Try this happy meal toy. It can be the highlight of a kid's fast food lunch, and now the toys are protected under a new Florida law that says local governments can't order restaurants to ban them. Two California counties have already done that.

Trenton's mom Ashley admits the toys are a powerful marketing tool, making for one all too common question...

"What toy do they get? And, you know, you gotta say, 'you've got to eat your food before you get the toy', and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

Gone are the days of the old happy meal box, but some things never change. After all, why toy with a business model that's been working for decades?

Well, critics argue...because it's unhealthy.

Most traditional fast-food kids' meals are packed with fat, calories and carbs, and consumer advocate Brad Ashwell worries toys are a way of hooking kids, and their parents, on unhealthy diets.

"It's really about starting healthy habits at an early age and making sure our country's prioritizing healthier foods versus unhealthy foods," he said.

But today's kids' meals are offering healthier options, and Ashley says she doesn't want the government dictating what she can or can't give her kids.

"They don't get it every day, not every day, and I don't see nothin' wrong with chicken nuggets, apples and a chocolate milk."

So, pull on up. The food's piping hot, and the toys...still plenty of fun.

Nationwide, the fast food industry spends around $360 million a year on kids' meal toys. Critics say their fight to ban the toys continues in other states and may well go all the way to Washington.

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  • by Lois Location: Geneva on Jun 14, 2011 at 09:27 AM
    Hey, I like the little toys. My kids when they was little this was their once a month treat. No, we didn't go every day. I still have some of the little toys. And my kids are in their late 20's. I don't see anything wrong with treating your kids. I like the happy meals. My kids will tell you they remember that being their treat and it was part of being a kid.
  • by Donald Location: Oregon on Jun 14, 2011 at 01:55 AM
    This is stupid and frivolous. Mom and Dad need to grow a pair and tell their kids NO!. If parents are so hung up on healthy eating, then why the hell are they going to McDonald's? If you're going to a Micky D's then you are making this decision knowing full well what you're getting yourself into. When I go I know that I'm not getting the most healthy meal. You don't have to get your kids the meal with a toy either. $2 will get you a single cheeseburger or a McDouble and small fry if you want it. I go for 2 McDouble's. They give water cups for free. I say if you have a problem with a company's policy, then don't visit that establishment. Go somewhere else. -- Let's see, I don't like yellow cars so I'm going to sue GM to get rid of that particular color. Any lawyers out there care to take my case pro-bono??? Get rid of all yellow cars on the road. hahahaha. Yeah, stupid and frivolous. - I say to McDonald's, stick to your guns. It's your right to run your business your way.
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