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How to Decode Food Container Recycle and Safe Use Symbols – Infographic

Written by : Posted on March 3, 2017 : No Comments

Ever wonder what those hieroglyphs on the bottom of your plastic tableware mean? Though the symbols vary from product to product, they generally fall into two categories: (1) safe usage and (2) recyclability.

Safe Usage Symbols

A wine glass and fork is the international symbol for “food safe”, meaning the product is designed to be in contact with food.

 

When you see dishes in a shower of straight lines, the product is dishwasher safe on the top rack. This symbol can take on many forms but usually includes dishes getting sprayed with water.

Wavy lines indicate the product can be safely heated inside a microwave oven. Sometimes the symbol includes plates, bowls, or the entire microwave oven itself. No matter what the design, the squiggly lines are always present.

Snowflakes mean the product is freezer safe (and therefore snow safe!). Sometimes the actual minimum temperature limit in degrees is included.

 

Recycle Symbols

Recycle symbols are identified by their characteristic triangular arrows circumscribing a number from 1 to 7. The numbers indicate the category of material used in the product. Generally speaking, materials enumerated 1, 2, 4, and 5 are food safe. Products made with material 1 are typically only used once, whereas products containing materials 2, 4 and 5 can be cleaned and reused. Some products with a number 7 may also be safe to use with foods.

Food container recycle and safe use symbols - an infographic

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Best Sippy Cup Materials Selection Guide – This guide compares the safest sippy cup materials including silicone, polypropylene, stainless steel, and glass.

How to Get Toddlers to Drink More Water – 7 Easy Tips

Written by : Posted on July 12, 2016 : No Comments

Kids LOVE sweets, so getting them to drink more water instead of sugary drinks can be difficult. These 7 tips to will help get your kids to drink more water:

1. Infuse it with flavor and color – Add a few slices of orange, apple, lime, or other fruits and veggies to flavor the water naturally. Use a cup with a clear lid to showcase the fruits (we eat and drink with our eyes first!).

Sippy cups with clear lids showcase floating fruits - an easy way to get kids to drink more water.

2. Keep it cool – Some kids prefer iced water. Make it extra cool with fun ice cube shapes or frozen fruits.

3. Make it easy – If you’ve ever tested one of your kid’s no-spill sippy cups then you know they can be a struggle to drink from. Toddlers only have about half an adults’ suction power, so if it’s hard for you to drink from the cup then it’s a good bet your kids are struggling too. Make it easy by using either open cups or valve-free straw cups. Make water accessible by keeping cups filled throughout the day, and leave a cup filled with water on a nightstand for nighttime and morning thirst.


4. Take it easy – The dislike of a food or drink can often be overcome by repeating tastings (5 to 10 times over 2 weeks). But too much praise or nagging can often be counterproductive. Even little kids want to feel like they’re making their own decisions.

5. Be a role model – Children often copy their parents’ behavior, so while you’re filling up their cups, be sure to top off your own glass of water too.

6. Make it fun! –Serve water in cups with cute and colorful characters, and use fun interactive straws. Fun and special cups work very well with toddlers and preschoolers.


7. Chew on it – About one-quarter of our total water intake comes from foods. So for extra hydration, focus on foods that contain lots of water such as soups or fruits & veggies (cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, watermelon, oranges, grapes, peaches, and strawberries).

Continue Reading

Learn about how much water you and your kids should drink each day.

Resources and References

1. Dr. William Sears. Ask Dr. Sears: Getting Kids Into the H2O Habit. Retrieved 7/12/2016.
2. Fluid Facts for Kids. Retrieved 7/12/2016.

Best Sippy Cup Selection Guide – Part 2 of 2

Written by : Posted on June 8, 2016 : No Comments

Summary

Some of the main qualities to consider when selecting the materials used in your sippy cup include food and fall safety, appeal, easy cleaning, and durability. Silicone, polypropylene, stainless steel, and glass are safer materials recommended for kids. Polypropylene with embedded graphics is good overall. Plain stainless steel offers many excellent properties, but it poses a greater fall hazard, and isn’t very appealing to kids. Painted stainless is more appealing, but toddlers can teethe on or eat flaking paint. Glass has many excellent properties, but it poses a greater fall hazard, and shards can be ingested or cause lacerations. Silicone is the superior rubber material for straws, spouts, and valves.

Background

This is part 2 of a 2 part sippy cup selection guide (read part 1 here). In this part, we’ll review sippy cup material options (plastic, steel, glass, etc.) so you can choose what’s best for your family. Listed below are many of the qualities that must all be balanced in a good sippy cup.

Best sippy cup qualities, from a parent's & a child's perspective. Parent - spill, clean, travel, durability. Child - drink, health, training, speech, safety, appeal.

A good sippy cup balances these qualities

Parents don’t and probably won’t ever agree on what makes the “best” sippy cup… just check the passionate and contradictory love/hate reviews for your current favorite! This guide emphasizes the safest choice wherever practical, but shows all the performance trade-offs so you can decide what’s best for your particular needs.

Cup Material Comparison

 

Flexible polypropylene safer than hard and brittle glass

This section compares the safest materials currently in use for sippy cups: 1) uncolored silicone rubber, 2) polypropylene plastic with barrier over graphics, 3) painted stainless steel, and 4) painted borosilicate glass.

Best sippy cup material comparison: polypropylene vs stainless steel vs glass

Polypropylene with embedded graphics is good overall, glass has excellent properties but has durability and safety concerns for toddlers

Easy to Drink From – Transparent materials (silicone, polypropylene, and glass) have the advantage over stainless steel since parents can easily see when the cup is empty and refill it.

Food Safe – Silicone, polypropylene, stainless steel, and glass are safer materials recommended for kids.10 Silicone rubber has no known health hazards for use in cookware.8 Polypropylene has a long track record of safety, and has never required endocrine disrupting chemicals (e.g. BPA, BPS, phthalates) to function properly.12 Stainless steel contains iron and chromium which are healthy in low doses, and nickel which is not poisonous at low doses, and doesn’t release enough of these chemicals to cause concern.8

Inks and paints are not recommended for surfaces in direct contact with food (e.g. the inside of a cup), and are also not ideal for use on the outside of a sippy cup, since toddlers can teethe on or eat flaking paint. Adding a food safe barrier over such graphics is the industry standard method to achieve higher safety, so some polypropylene sippy cups add a polypropylene barrier over the graphics. Stainless steel is generally decorated by painting on the outside, with no barrier, so the paint is more susceptible to being teethed on and eaten. The only health concerns for glassware comes from minor components such as pigments, lead, or cadmium.8 Although pigments, lead, and/or cadmium are used to color and decorate glassware, the decoration can be made safe and durable (e.g. dishwasher safe and abrasion resistant) by selecting stable colorants and processing (firing) the glassware correctly.11

Fall Safe – Two thousand children per year are given emergency treatment for injuries from a bottle, pacifier, or sippy cup, and the majority (86%) of those injuries are due to falls with the product.7 Most injuries are to the mouth, head, face, or neck. Silicone and polypropylene are more flexible than steel and glass, and should be less harmful to fall onto. Further, glass may chip or shatter, increasing the possibility of injury from lacerations or ingestion.

Appeal – Ideally, your newer, safer cup will be appealing enough that your kids will happily trade in their old bottle or spouted sippy for it. Kids like cute and colorful products. So although clear silicone rubber (no added dyes or pigments) may be safer than colored silicone, it is likely less appealing to kids. Likewise, although natural stainless steel is the safer option, it is much less appealing than painted steel. In contrast, clear polypropylene can be made very appealing by adding graphics, and still retain the safer status by encapsulating those graphics with a food safe barrier.

Easy to Clean & Durability – Silicone is dishwasher safe and resistant to heat, cold, sunlight, and chemicals, but is sensitive to biting and tearing. Polypropylene is generally top-rack dishwasher safe, fairly resistant to heat (e.g. steam sterilizing is ok, but boiling is often not), fairly resistant to cold (more fragile when cold), more sensitive to sunlight (uv), and fairly resistant to chemicals. Natural stainless steel is very resistant to heat, cold, and sunlight, and has good chemical resistance (although it can be susceptible to acid and corrosion). Painted stainless steel can be dishwasher safe (depending on paint), but will be more sensitive to sunlight and chemicals, and requires care not to chip or scratch the graphics. Glass is dishwasher safe, and is very resistant to heat, cold, sunlight, and chemicals. However, glass is the most brittle among these materials, so durability suffers when in the hands of a toddler.

Straw & Valve Material Comparison

 

Silicone rubber better than natural rubber

This section compares the safest rubber materials currently in use for straws, spouts, and valves: 1) uncolored silicone rubber, 2) uncolored thermoplastic olefins (TPE-o), and 3) uncolored natural rubber (latex).

Best sippy cup material comparison: silicone vs natural rubber vs TPE

Silicone is the best rubber material for straws, spouts, and valves

Food Safe – Silicone is the safer rubber material recommended for kids.10 Silicone rubber has no known health hazards for use in cookware.8 Natural rubber generally contains proteins that are allergenic and may develop sensitivity upon repeated exposure9, and may leach nitrosamines10 (a carcinogen).

Colorants (dyes and pigments) can be added to modify the color of rubber, but they also modify the chemical makeup and food safety. Each colorant is different, some have regulated maximum concentrations set by the FDA for food contact. Covering each colorant individually is beyond the scope of this guide, but as a blanket statement, uncolored rubber is generally the more certain option.

Easy to Clean & Durability – Silicone is dishwasher safe and resistant to heat, cold, sunlight, and chemicals (including acids and fats). Silicone has a smoother surface than natural rubber, and so is less likely to be colonized with microorganisims.13 TPE-o can be dishwasher safe, but tends to degrade and stain more when exposed to heat, sunlight, and chemicals (sometimes becoming tacky). Natural rubber is not dishwasher safe and deteriorates faster than silicone when heated14, and is less resistant to sunlight and chemicals (such as fats from milk). All three rubber options are sensitive to biting and tearing, so have limited lifespans when in the hands (and teeth) of toddlers.

Continue Reading

Best Sippy Cup Selection Guide – Part 1 of 2. Part 1 of this series compares the various types of sippy cups (straw vs spout, valve vs valve-free, etc.).

Resources and References

  1. Mann, Denise. So Long Sippy Cups, Hello Straws. WebMD, Feb 11, 2008. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  2. Potock, Melanie. Step Away From the Sippy Cup! ASHA Sphere, Jan 9, 2014. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  3. Drinking Straws Fight Tooth Decay. American Dental Education Association. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  4. Hitti, Miranda. Sipping Soda Through a Straw May Cut Cavities. WebMD, June 17, 2005. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  5. From Baby Bottle to Cup. Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 135, March 2004. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  6. Sippy Cup Do’s and Don’ts. Babycenter. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  7. Keim, Sarah A. et al. Injuries Associated With Bottles, Pacifiers, and Sippy Cups in the United States, 1991-2010. American Academy of Pediatrics, January 24, 2012. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  8. The Safe use of Cookware. Health Canada, March 18 2015. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  9. Potential for Sensitization and Possible Allergic Reaction to Natural Rubber Latex Gloves and other Natural Rubber Products. OSHA, January 28 2008. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  10. Choosing Safer Products: Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups, and Pacifiers. Washington Toxics Coalition. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  11. Klages, Karen. Getting the Lead Out. Chicago Tribune, October 21, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  12. Decoding the Mystery of Safer vs Toxic Plastic. The Soft Landing, January 27, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  13. Recommendations for the Use of Pacifiers. Paediatr Child Health, Vol 8 No 8, pg. 515-519, October 2003.
  14. Pacifier Buying Guide. Consumer Reports, November 2012. Retreived May 18, 2016.

Best Sippy Cup Selection Guide – Part 1 of 2

Written by : Posted on June 1, 2016 : No Comments

Summary

Some of the main qualities to compare when selecting the sippy cup that works best for your family are easy drinking, simple cleaning, less spilling, and better health. These qualities often conflict, and must be balanced. For instance, the only way to ensure that a sippy is 100% spill-proof is to make it 100% drink-proof too! Valve-free straw cups are better for drinking and development. Valved cups (including straw, spout, and spoutless 360) are better for minimizing leaks. Valve-free cups and the spoutless 360 cups are the easiest to clean, while other valved cups tend to trap more food and moisture.

Background

For most parents, the ideal sippy cup is just one that won’t spill. In this era of laser eye surgery and robots in space, you might wonder why the mythical spill-proof sippy cup is still just fantasy? The simple reality is that there are many qualities that must all be balanced in a good sippy cup.

Best sippy cup qualities, from a parent's & a child's perspective. Parent - spill, clean, travel, durability. Child - drink, health, training, speech, safety, appeal.

A good sippy cup balances these qualities

So the main challenge to sippy cup perfection is that many of these qualities conflict with one another. For instance, the more spill resistant you make the cup, generally the harder it is to drink from and to clean, and the worse it is for dental health and for training proper drinking technique. As another example, stainless steel may be the ultimate material for food contact and durability, but it loses it’s safety advantage if your kid likes to teethe on the acrylic paint that makes it more appealing, and it also poses a greater fall hazard than more flexible materials.

Parents don’t and probably won’t ever agree on what makes the “best” sippy cup… just check the passionate and contradictory love/hate reviews for your current favorite! This guide reviews the sippy cup options, emphasizing the safest choice wherever practical, but showing all the performance trade-offs so you can decide what’s best for your particular needs.

Cup Type Comparison

Straw Healthier Than Spout

There are 3 classes of sippy cups: 1) straw cups, 2) spouted cups, and 3) spoutless 360 cups. Straw and spouted cups can be either valve-free or valved, and vented or non-vented. Valved straw and spouted cups are covered in the next section. Spoutless 360 cups are all valved and vented. So this section covers these common configurations: 1) valve-free & vented straw cups, 2) valve-free & non-vented spouted cups, 3) valved & vented spoutless 360.

Best sippy cup comparison: straw vs spouted vs spoutless 360

Valve-free straw cups are better for drinking and development, spoutless 360 cups are better for minimizing leaks

Easy to Drink From & Good Dental Health – Valve-free & vented straw cups are very easy to drink from, and straws cause less damage to fewer teeth.3,4 Spouted cups are harder to drink from, since they require more flow restriction (small holes or valves) to control leaks. Similarly, spoutless 360 cups require fairly high effort to suck the valve open and start the flow. More restrictive cups cause kids to drink more slowly and for longer periods of time, increasing the risk of cavities.

Training & Speech Development – Straw cups teach a mature drinking technique and allow kids to drink without tipping up their cup and neck1. Straw cups promote a mature swallowing pattern and tongue position for speech development.1,2 Spouted cups work similar to baby bottles, so they don’t promote mature swallowing patterns or tongue positions for speech development.1,2 Spoutless 360 cups have a valve around the rim that requires a tipping and sucking technique to drink.

Spill Resistance – Valve-free straw cups can offer good overall spill resistance. Even so, straw cups with vent holes tend to stream out the hole when turned upside down, or alternatively, straw cups without vent holes tend to pressurize and leak when using cold drinks. Valve-free spouted cups can offer good overall spill resistance (or excellent spill resistance with a valve). Spoutless 360 cups generally offer excellent spill resistance, although they do tend to spill more when dropped.

Easy to Clean – Valve-free straw cups can have as few as 3 parts, and be easy to clean. However, they occasionally require a straw brush to fully clean inside the straw. Valve-free spouted cups can have as few as 2 parts, and be easy to clean. However, they occasionally require special attention in the small holes (or valve) used to restrict flow. Spoutless 360 cups can have as few as 3 parts, and be easy to clean. However, some pockets and small holes occasionally require special attention to keep clean and mold free.

Valve Type Comparison

Valve-free healthier than valved

Valve-Free cups are free-flowing, and have no dead-ends (i.e. you can see straight through the straw). Valved cups restrict the flow to reduce leaks. They have a valve with a dead-end that inhibits flow until it is opened, either by biting, by sucking, or by a combination of the two.

Best sippy cup comparison: valve-free vs bite valve vs suction valve

Valve-free cups are better for drinking and development, valved cups are better for minimizing leaks

Easy to Drink From & Good Dental Health – If you test a cup and find it difficult or uncomfortable to drink from, it’s even harder for your kids (adults can generate about 3 times the suction that toddlers can). Valve-free cups are easy to drink from, and minimize the time liquid stays in the child’s mouth. According to the ADA, “The best training cup for your child is one with no valve.”5 Cups with bite valves can have fair flow rates. Cups with suction valves typically require high suction for low flow. Restrictive valves increase the time the liquid sits in the child’s mouth, increasing risk for tooth decay.

Training & Speech Development – Valve-free straw cups teach mature drinking techniques and swallowing patterns. Cups with bite valves train kids to bite while drinking, a habit that can be hard to break. Cups with suction valves behave more like baby bottles. “The only way a child can get liquid from a cup with a valve is by sucking (as from a baby bottle). This defeats the purpose, as it prevents your child from learning to sip.”5

Spill Resistance – Valve-free cups can offer good overall spill resistance, but generally spill more than valved cups. Cups with bite valves can achieve excellent spill resistance. However, bite valve performance can degrade with wear from repeated biting. Cups with suction valves can offer excellent spill resistance too. However, suction valves that are not located near the top of the straw or spout can trap a column of liquid that can be poured or flung out.

Easy to Clean – Valve-free straw cups are the easiest to clean. They have less tendency to trap food and moisture, and so have less tendency for mold growth. Both bite and suction valves trap liquid and food particles, and slow down drying, increasing the likelihood of breeding bacteria and mold.6

Durability – Valve-free cups are generally the most durable. Bite valves wear the fastest, since biting the valve is required to drink. Suction valves that are embedded within the cup are protected from biting, and can be durable.

Continue Reading

Best Sippy Cup Selection Guide – Part 2 of 2. Part 2 of this series compares the safest sippy cup materials.

 Resources and References

  1. Mann, Denise. So Long Sippy Cups, Hello Straws. WebMD, Feb 11, 2008. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  2. Potock, Melanie. Step Away From the Sippy Cup! ASHA Sphere, Jan 9, 2014. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  3. Drinking Straws Fight Tooth Decay. American Dental Education Association. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  4. Hitti, Miranda. Sipping Soda Through a Straw May Cut Cavities. WebMD, June 17, 2005. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  5. From Baby Bottle to Cup. Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 135, March 2004. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  6. Sippy Cup Do’s and Don’ts. Babycenter. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  7. Keim, Sarah A. et al. Injuries Associated With Bottles, Pacifiers, and Sippy Cups in the United States, 1991-2010. American Academy of Pediatrics, January 24, 2012. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  8. The Safe use of Cookware. Health Canada, March 18 2015. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  9. Potential for Sensitization and Possible Allergic Reaction to Natural Rubber Latex Gloves and other Natural Rubber Products. OSHA, January 28 2008. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  10. Choosing Safer Products: Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups, and Pacifiers. Washington Toxics Coalition. Retreived May 18, 2016.
  11. Klages, Karen. Getting the Lead Out. Chicago Tribune, October 21, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  12. Decoding the Mystery of Safer vs Toxic Plastic. The Soft Landing, January 27, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  13. Recommendations for the Use of Pacifiers. Paediatr Child Health, Vol 8 No 8, pg. 515-519, October 2003.
  14. Pacifier Buying Guide. Consumer Reports, November 2012. Retreived May 18, 2016.

How to Clean and Prevent Mold in Sippy Cups, Straws, and Valves

Written by : Posted on December 7, 2015 : 1 Comment

Causes of Mold

There are four conditions needed for mold growth: mold spores, temperature, moisture, and mold food. Mold spores are airborne and found everywhere in small amounts, and cups are typically stored at room temperature, so there’s not too much you can do to control those. The most effective ways to prevent mold from growing in your children’s cups is to properly clean them to reduce trace foods, and more importantly to eliminate all moisture after cleaning.

A sippy straw is shown with a standard slit valve. The straw valve traps water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold.

Straw valves trap water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold.

A straw sippy cup is shown with a standard sliding travel valve. The travel valve slides to close the straw off so the cup doesn't leak when stored in a bag for travel. However, the travel valve is difficult to clean and traps water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold.

Travel valves slide to close the straw off to prevent leakage when stored in a bag for travel.

Travel valves are often difficult to clean. They trap water and food particles, and can harbor grime and mold, and then transfer that to the straw they’re covering.

Basic Steps for a Mold-Free Cup

Sippy cups are notorious for their tendency to harbor grime and mold, especially in straw valves and travel valves. These tips will help you get your children’s sippy cups cleaner and stop mold from growing.

1. Wash the cup immediately after each use.

2. FULLY disassemble the cup. Moisture and food collects in the joints between parts, and is exactly the type of place where mold can grow. Separate all straws, valves, rubber rings, plastic sliding covers, and so on.

3. Pre-rinse straws, valves, and other parts that collect food with warm water. Most rubber valves can be opened by pinching with your fingers. Pinch the valve and run water through it to pre-rinse.

4. Wash by hand in warm soapy water, or by dishwasher.

5. Shake out remaining water from all parts. Shake out any water collected inside straws. If your cup or straw has a rubber valve, pinch it open while you shake to get the water out.

6. FULLY dry all parts before assembly. This is a key step, since moist parts won’t dry once assembled. Consider storing the cup disassembled, and assemble only when ready to use.

Advanced Steps for a Sparkling, Mold-free Cup

1. Use a straw brush to scrub inside straws.

2. Use a straw brush or a toothpick to scrub inside valves.

3. Weekly or monthly sterilization may be used to keep your cups extra clean, especially if you hand wash. Some of the more popular sterilization methods:

a. Washing in a dishwasher will sanitize, and some hotter dishwasher cycles can even sterilize. The dishwasher is often the best solution for keeping your cups extra clean without exposing them to excessive temperatures and harsh chemicals that can deteriorate plastic, rubber, steel, and paint.

b. A steam sterilizer is effective for killing mold. As with all methods, you must ensure that the parts are fully dried afterwards, so use the dry cycle if available.

c. A diluted chlorine bleach bath (typically 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water, soak for 2 minutes) is effective, but requires some precautions:

i. Never mix bleach with ammonia, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or other household cleaners, can produce toxic fumes

ii. Open windows when using bleach. Bleach is a chemical irritant. It can irritate the lungs and mucous membranes. In its concentrated form, it can damage skin, eyes and clothing.

iii. Thoroughly rinse and dry all cup parts afterwards.

d. A vinegar bath can help to clean grime, but isn’t effective enough to meet the technical definition of sterilization and will only kill about 70% of the mold.


Resources and References

  1. USDA. Infant Nutrition and Feeding: A Reference Handbook for Nutrition and Health Counselors in the
    WIC and CSF Programs. USDA, Alexandria VA, March 2009.
  2. National Center for Environmental Health. Facts about Mold and Dampness. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, June 17, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  3. Moisture and Mold Problems: Preventing and Solving Them in Your Home. WebMD, October 23, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  4. Mold Growth, Assessment, and Remediation. Wikipedia, June 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  5. Rose, Bobbie. Sanitize Safely and Effectively: Bleach and Alternatives in Child Care Programs. California Childcare Health Program, October 2008.

How Much Water Should You and Your Kids Drink Each Day? Hydration Guidelines for Toddlers, Teens, Adults, and Pregnant or Nursing Moms.

Written by : Posted on November 16, 2015 : No Comments

The Benefits of Drinking Water

Water helps maintain the balance of body fluids, affecting functions such as circulation, temperature control, and digestion. Drinking sufficient water can reduce risk factors for constipation, kidney stones, and other chronic diseases. Drinking the right amount of water can also help control calories, keep muscles energized, and keep skin vibrant.

Hydration Guidelines

How much water you and your kids should drink a day. Hydration guidelines for toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, based on Total Adequate Intake as set by the Institute of Medicine.

While pure water is one of the healthiest beverages, you will get similar levels of hydration from other non-alcoholic beverages. So adult women should generally be drinking a combined total of about 9 cups of water, tea, juice, and other beverages each day to stay hydrated.

In fact, your total water intake comes from both beverages (including tea, juice, and milk) and from foods (including soups, fruits, and veggies). This ratio is typically about 4 to 1, meaning that for every 4 cups of water you get from drinking beverages, you get about 1 more cup from the foods you eat. So if you happen to be on a liquid diet or you’re eating dried foods, you’ll need to bump up the amount of fluids you drink by about 25% to compensate.

These guidelines for adequate intake of water are meant to cover the general needs for each life stage and gender group. However, your daily water needs will vary depending on your environment (temperature & humidity), physical activity level, health, and diet.

Continue Reading

Kids not drinking enough water? Use these 7 easy tips to get toddlers to drink more water.

Resources and References

  1. IOM (Institute of Medicine). Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate. The National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2005.
  2. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA Journal 2010, 8(3):1459. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), Parma, Italy, 2010.
  3. Fluid Facts for Kids. Retrieved 11/12/2015.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Water: How much should you drink every day. Retrieved 5/17/2016.

Able Play Review – Fun Drinking Cups for Children of All Abilities

Written by : Posted on August 14, 2015 : No Comments

We recently came across a really great non-profit called the National Lekotek Center. The mission of the Lekotek Center is to “make the world of play accessible to all children, especially those who have disabilities or special needs.”

“Toys and play are the vehicles used to provide children with an understanding of and an ability to relate to the world around them,” according to the Lekotek Center. Their sites offer “therapeutic play-based family sessions for families of children with disabilities structured to help children learn, develop and thrive in a world that presents them with many unique and complex challenges.”

The Lekotek Center recently evaluated our Sip & Spin straw cups according to their AblePlay standards, and gave it a good rating:

http://www.ableplay.org/product/sip-spin-straw-cup

Able Play ratings seal for the Sip & Spin straw cups. This great find is useful for developing physical, sensory, communicative, cognitive, and social/emotional skills.

 

Here are the quotes from their evaluation by special needs parents and professionals:

“I was worried about moving him up to a ‘grown up’ cup, but I love how my son no longer missed his sippy cup once he realized how this fun, spinning cup worked!” –Keri L., Chicago, IL

“As a Speech Pathologist, I always look for fun ways to promote oral motor control and planning to help develop kids’ feeding skills and speech production in new and innovative ways.” –Amy L., CCC-SLP, Chicago, IL

“My son is working on his oral motor control. When he sees that I am going to serve water in the Sip & Spin, he gets excited to see the spinning cars!” –Karina A., Mother of Felipe who has cerebral palsy

Please visit the National Lekotek Center and their AblePlay toy rating site for more information.


It’s Launch Time!

Written by : Posted on August 4, 2015 : No Comments

We’re so excited to announce the launch of our new straw cups. Our Sip & SpinTM straw cup is especially fun, with a pinwheel that spins when you drink. Our ZoomiTM straw cup has only 3 parts to simplify healthy drinking.

The Sip & Spin straw cup has a pinwheel in the lid that spins when a child drinks. “My son watches the spinner while he drinks and he really does drink more with these cups,” says Dana V., one of our Kickstarter backers. “It’s the first straw cup for my one year old and he did great. He loves the flexible straw and spinning parts.”

nuSpin Kids Sip & Spin Straw Cups have a pinwheel that spins as you sip. These cups make it fun for kids to stay hydrated. They are also dishwasher safe, and free of BPA, Phthalates, PVC, and Nitrosamines.

In celebration of our launch, we’re combining each Sip & Spin straw cup with a bonus Zoomi straw. The cups come in two styles, Monster Trucks and Butterflies. They’re available online now!

 

The Prediction Game – A Fun Science Activity for Kids

Written by : Posted on June 30, 2014 : 1 Comment

As the planet’s newest inhabitants, discovery, play, and learning is every kid’s job. Encourage this with a fun science activity for kids! Without knowing it, children follow the scientific method in their everyday activities:

  1. First they make an observation: “Whenever I drop my sippy cup on the ground, mom picks it up.”
  2. Then they formulate a hypothesis: “Mom thinks it’s fun to pick stuff up off the ground.”
  3. Now for the prediction: “If I drop my plate of spaghetti on the ground, mom will pick that up too.”
  4. To test the hypothesis: “let’s give that plate of spaghetti a little shove!”
  5. Finally, observations are made and the hypothesis is revised: “Oh, mom howled and the dog ate my spaghetti. Not exactly what I expected – but that was fun for me!”

Try the “The Prediction Game” to stimulate your kid’s sense of discovery and train them to follow the scientific method. It’s pretty simple – Ask a question about the world that is immediately testable. Then each person in the room formulates their own prediction about the potential outcome. Test it and see whose prediction is closest to correct. Some example questions are:

  • What color will we get if we mix red, yellow, and blue together? (Try various color combos)
  • Will that fridge magnet stick to the kitchen wall? (Magnets are awesome)
  • Do peas float or sink in water? (This is a fun test for lots of different objects!)
  • Hold a yo-yo at the end of its string and let it swing back and forth.  If you shorten the yo-yo’s string, will it swing faster or slower than before?
  • Will the ice melt faster on the sink or in the fridge? (or in your mouth)
  • How many licks does it take to get to the center of that tootsie pop? (Three of course)

It’s really interesting to ask why they are predicting a certain outcome. The answer to the “why” question is essentially their working hypothesis. “Dad, the peas will sink because all green things sink in water.” Interesting. Further testing is needed.

Please, comment below and leave your ideas for cool questions to ask kids when playing The Prediction Game!

Car Seat Latches and Belts – Keeping my Child Safe is a Cinch

Written by : Posted on June 2, 2014 : No Comments

Britax Fontier 90 Car Seat in action nuspin kidsWe recently got a new car seat, after way too many hours of frustrating research, and I’m pretty sure we found the easiest-to-use car seat ever made. My initial plan was to find a car seat that would let us use the LATCH lower anchors for our 5 year old, 40-lb girl, because I thought that would be the most convenient and safe method. For those who aren’t familiar, LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and it’s a set of metal anchors in your vehicle seats. You can attach your car seat to these anchors instead of using the vehicle seat belt to strap in the car seat.

The LATCH anchors are nice and convenient, but unfortunately most have a child weight limit substantially lower than today’s car seats. To make matters worse, it’s not very easy to find out what that limit is. Different vehicle and car seat manufacturers have different limits (or no published limits), and it can be confusing to figure out which limit applies to your combination of vehicle and car seat.

 

Here are the main things that I learned while researching my car seat:

  1. It is always safe to install a car seat using the vehicle seat belt, provided you follow both car seat and vehicle manuals and can get a secure fit. LATCH lower anchors don’t make the installation safer, just easier to get a good fit.
  2. If your child weighs 40 pounds or more, you need to check if you can still use LATCH lower anchors to install the car seat. This post at Car Seats for the Littles explains it all and has handy tables summarizing the limits for different vehicle and car seat manufacturers.
  3. The Britax Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 car seats have an innovative method of installation using the vehicle seat belt that I found to be even easier than LATCH. This 30-second video shows just how simple it is. (We did not receive any compensation for this post, I’m just excited about our new car seat and the innovation behind the product.)
  4. Don’t forget about the top tether when you’re installing a forward-facing car seat. There is some confusion about when to use it, so check your vehicle and car seat manuals.
  5. To ensure safety for your particular situation, you should have your car seat installation checked by a certified inspector (often free of charge). Here is a link to find one near you: http://www.nhtsa.gov/apps/cps/index.htm

 

I’m very happy with my Britax car seat purchase. I had no idea how easy they could make a vehicle seat belt installation. There is no kneeling on car seats or tugging at seat belts – it’s actually easier than installing a typical car seat with the LATCH lower anchors. They recognized all the confusion over these LATCH weight limits, and developed a seat that bypasses all of it by making it so simple and secure to install without LATCH. It’s a groundbreaking product with some great engineering.