Toy food and utensil sets - safety tips for children

Consumer Reports News: May 10, 2010 05:08 AM

It’s fun for kids to play “kitchen” and plan dinner or tea parties. But believe it or not, small play food and utensils can create confusion with the real thing and be hazardous.

If you have a play kitchen, be sure the plastic food is age-appropriate. Play food is often designed for children over age 3. It can look very realistic, and toddlers may try to eat some. Be sure you are giving your younger child play food that is large and can’t be accidentally swallowed. If you have a child older than 3 who sticks everything in his mouth, the food is enticing, or you worry about accidental ingestion, you may want to stick to the large play food for your older child as well. (Learn how choking incidents among 4-year-old children are on the rise.)

Keep play in the play kitchen or play area. Be sure your child knows that the knives and forks in her play kitchen and the plastic pots, pans, and kettles on her play stove are pretend. Play kitchens are not recommended for children younger than 3. Real utensils and pots and pans should always be off-limits, because you don’t want your child to reach for your real ones and risk a burn or other injury one day.

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