Best Toddler Sippy Cups
Manufacturers have flooded the market with many choices when it comes to choosing a sippy cup for your toddler. How is a parent to know the best toddler sippy cups? This article highlights some features to consider when choosing the best toddler sippy cups to fit your child’s needs. Sippy cup specifications and suggestions can be found in Toddler Sippy Cup Reviews.
- Moving from a bottle to a cup is a big leap for a toddler. It requires small motor control to skillfully manage a cup. Most toddlers will require some practice. A sippy cup provides toddlers with the practice needed to build those small motor skills.
- Spills happen when using regular cups. Even the most careful adult will spill occasionally when using a cup. The sippy cup eliminates those frequent spills while learning to use a regular cup skillfully. The ease of cleaning sippy cups also adds to the convenience.
- Toddlers are active! They are on the move continually. Leak-proof sippy cups will allow them to hydrate on their own without the spills.
- The spill-proof features of toddler sippy cups allow toddlers to use them anywhere without worry. Toddlers are gaining independence in managing their hydration needs as well.
Features to Consider when Selecting the Best Toddler Sippy Cups
Transition cups are for children 4-12 months. These cups will have a soft spout that is easy on the child’s gums. Many cups will have two handles to make holding the cup easier. They will hold a smaller amount of liquid. Usually, less than 8 ounces to make it easier to hold. Children babies and toddlers using this type of sippy cup will be building eye-hand coordination to accurate get the cup to their mouth.
These cups are really designed for the toddlers. The age range for this type of cup is 12 months to 3 years. Toddler cups will have a regular cup design with some contour to the shape to make them easier to hold. Handles are not a usual feature of this type of sippy cup. The spout is a hard material and many of these cups are insulated because they will hold 8 – 12 ounces of liquid.
The kid bottle is for older toddlers over 2 years old. The bottles are made of hard durable materials and hold 8 – 16 ounces of liquid. Insulation is a common feature of the kid bottle. Additional features on these sippy cups are the closable tops to prevent leakage. These bottles will require motor skills and strength to close the straw spout.
Sippy Cup Construction Materials
Plastic is a very common material in sippy cup construction. Plastics are durable, lightweight, easy to clean, come in many colors and can be shaped in many ways. The major concern about plastic is the chemical leaching from the plastic into the liquids contained in the sippy cup. Look for plastic sippy cups that are labeled BPA-free for the safest cups on the market. Baby Center Medical Advisory Board has more information on the safety of BPA-free plastics.
Food grade stainless steel sippy cups are becoming the first choice for many parents. Stainless steel does not have the potential risk of leaching chemicals into liquids held in the sippy cup. Many stainless steel containers insulate liquids very well, keeping them cold for several hours.Other advantages of stainless steel are the ease of cleaning and the durability for use over many years. Stainless steel is heavier than some other materials and may not be suitable for every toddler.
Medical grade silicone is used mainly in the spouts and valves of the toddler sippy cups. There is a lower grade of silicone used as an outer sleeve to protect sippy cups and kid bottles. The silicone is very flexible providing comfortable spouts and a firmer grip when used as protection on the outside of the bottle. The silicone used in toddler sippy cups comes in contact with the liquids for a very short period of time so the concern with leaching of chemicals is not a factor when using silicone.
The use of glass is a great substance for use in toddler sippy cups because it is an inert substance. It will not contribute chemicals or allow substances to cling to the surface. It is a recyclable material that is environmentally friendly. Glass, however, can shatter and pose a severe risk of injury for toddlers. The thickness of class used in toddler sippy cups resists breakage, but the potential for breakage does exist. For this reason, toddler sippy cups made of glass are not usually a top choice.
Squat and Wide
This shape sippy cup provides a solid base and is the least likely to tip over. Handles are a popular feature on this cup body. These cups are too wide for most cup holds and limit their use in travel.
Short and Contoured
This is a good design for transition cups. It provides a contour that fits the toddlers smaller hands and makes it easier to hold. The size usually makes them lighter in weight but will not hold as much liquid. The contoured sippy cups often have texture to the contour which makes them easier to hold.
Tall and Slim
This cup body is ideal for the older toddler that has good fine motor skills and needs the larger quantity of liquids. It is great for travel because the size fits in all cup holders. The slim design is easier for toddlers small hands to hold comfortably.
Silicone is the material most soft spouts are made from. The soft spout is easy to clean and comfortable in the child’s mouth. For a toddler that is constantly moving this spout, type provides the least risk of injury if they should fall while using it. The soft spout is the most like a bottle nipple and may not provide the transition that is desired.
Hard spouts are very durable and will last a long time. If you have a child that likes to chew on the spout this will be the most durable choice. The biggest caution with a hard spout is the risk of injury. If a child were to fall while using a toddler sippy cup with a hard spout they will have the greatest chance of injury.
The straw spout will bring the liquids to the back of your toddler’s mouth when using the sippy cup. This is the most desired options from a dentist’s perspective. The straw is flexible so the risk of injury is reduced when using this type of spout. The design of the straw spout makes it the most difficult to clean and sanitize.
This edge gives the most regular cup feel of any toddler sippy cups. The design is leak-free with a valve that requires a sucking motion to draw the liquid out. This sippy cup is best suited to the older toddler and provides a very grown up feel when using it.
Avoid the temptation to transition your toddler to a sippy cup before they are ready.
Have lost the tongue-thrust reflex
Tongue-thrust is pushing the tongue against anything inserted into the mouth. This reflex must be gone.
Starting to Use their Finger and Thumb
The toddler is picking up items and transferring them from hand to hand. They are ready to grasp a cup.
They are Sitting Up
Sitting well enough to be in a high chair or booster seat.
Disadvantages of Using Toddler Sippy Cups
Injuries to toddlers from sippy cup use is well documented. Toddlers falling while using the sippy cup is one of the main reasons for injury, The hardness of the materials used in the sippy cups caused lacerations that required medical attention. Caution and supervision are needed when toddlers use sippy cups.
The sugar content and the acidity level of beverages consumed by toddlers using sippy cups is a concern of the ADA. Parents often fill sippy cups with juice and milk which increases the risk of dental decay. It is important for toddlers to frequently consume water instead of other beverages with a higher sugar content.
Delay Real Cup Use
The use of a toddler sippy cup provides the convenience and portability needed when traveling and accommodating the active toddler lifestyle. It does not provide opportunities to practice the skills needed to use a regular cup without spilling.
With so many things to consider before selecting a sippy cup for your toddler, what are the most important things for you?
Leave your comments about your choices or questions regarding sippy cup use.