Wrong to Use Sippy Cup Just for Water?

Updated on March 09, 2008
P.N. asks from Lebanon, OH
25 answers

There have been several concerns about sippy cups raised on the site, but I'm not sure if it's answering my concern. My DS, almost 5 years old, uses regular cups for all meals, restaurants, visting, daycare, etc. However, we do allow him to use a sippy cup at home at bedtime, while traveling, and when he wants to drink while playing. He only ever has ice water in the sippy cup.

I confess it is just easier to have him use a sippy cup rather than worry about him spilling the water. We've tried the ones with straws, but they all leaked.

Is the occassional use of a sippy cup wrong for his age? Will it hurt his teeth if it only has ice water?

Thanks!
P.

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H.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

The primary concern with sippy cup overuse is when it is with juice and/or milk. He may be a little old for a "sippy cup", but if you're just using water no big deal. If you're wanting to avoid any judgmental glances get him a sports bottle - my son is five and he loves them - you can get them anywhere including Target in the Rubbermaid section. They're not 100% spill proof, but at 5 yrs old he should be able to control himself from spraying it everywhere. Hope this helps

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

There is nothing wrong with using it when you do not want spills but I would get rid of the ice.
Or you could use a little sport bottle of water......

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J.N.

answers from Cleveland on

I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old and they use a regular cup throughout the day however at night I use a sippy cup, when we travel as well. I don't think there is any problem with it and even my doctor says it is fine. I say if it is only at night and for traveling to keep the car clean and no spills in the bed it is fine.

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S.K.

answers from Cleveland on

i bought a sippy cup that has a thick silicone straw at target and it never leaks. maybe give that a try. but i remember as a child always using a sippy cup. as long as he knows how to drink from a normal cup then don't worry about it. it beats scrubbing the carpet and floors for every spill.

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B.N.

answers from Columbus on

Kudos to you for knowing how important it is to enforce lots of water drinking and I know what you mean about water spills! My five-year-old son drinks a lot of water all day long, so if you are looking for an alternative to sippy cups, here's mine: For a couple of years now, what has worked for me are used Gatorade bottles (24 oz ones) that my husband drinks occationally and brings home. I wash them out and reuse them for water only. I've found these to be really good at not leaking and they're not too hard to open for a four or five-year-old. We have about five or six of them at any given time that I keep in the fridge so he always has access to cold water (you can also add ice easily as well). In the summer I freeze a few of them so they stay cold. I use them too and we make sure we grab a couple wherever we go.

Good luck :)

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K.H.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi P.,

You need to ditch the sippy cup. He's too old and may even be teased by peers if seen using one. They have great sports bottles for the car and playground. But an almost 5 year old should have no problem unscrewing the cap on a water bottle either. Drinking water in bed is not needed. In fact, I'd be surprised if he could make it through the night without having to use the bathroom if he's drinking in bed. Liquids should be stopped after dinner.

So, bite the bullet and let him be a big boy. Even if it spills...it's only water. And PLEASE don't let him go to kindergarten with a sippy cup!

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M.L.

answers from Cincinnati on

There are children all over the world who must suffer unimagineable horrors...drinking out of a sippy cup will not hurt your child. He is happy, you are happy... that is what it's all about. I am a 63 year old granny...madalyn

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E.J.

answers from Columbus on

I am not expert by any means.....I only have 1 child so far and he is 11 mos. old, but I really don't see any harm in letting your son have a sippy cup on occassion. He knows how to drink from a cup and would be able to do that in any situation necessary, but to have a sippy with water during play time or to go to bed with I think is fine. My brother and his wife put all their kids (4) to bed with sippys of water, I think mostly so they don't keep getting out of bed and asking for a drink :) but they are fine. You are doing a fine job, I'm sure!!

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S.K.

answers from Cleveland on

I am married to a dentist:
First off it is not harmful to the child and as long as the child is not bothered then leave it rest and let him use it.

My kids are 9,6, and 4 and even my 9 year old will drink out of a sippy cup now and again because my youngest does!

I like the point of the no mess aspect!

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K.F.

answers from Indianapolis on

If he is able to use a regular cup and uses it when sitting at the table, there's nothing wrong with using a sippy cup of water like in car when you are concerned about spills. We do the same thing for our 3yr old. There's just no other way to have him have water on the go since he's not reliable about screwing the top back on a water bottle and not spilling it when I'm breaking in the car.

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T.H.

answers from Terre Haute on

P.,

By the time my kids were able to drink from a "big girl" cup with no lid cups were to stay at the kitchen counter or at the dinning room table. This was a big help so we would not have all the spills around the house. If your child is playing then it is play time. If he would want a drink then maybe you could try out the rule of drinks are only allowed at the table or in the kitchen.

Traveling we buy the bug juices and then we re-use the bottle for other drinks. This is only if we are going to be in the van for more than 1 hour.

My middle child will only drink from a straw that is in her "big girl" cup. It's not that she does not know how to drink right from the cup, it just make her feel a lil' more grown up to be able to use the straw.

I don't see where it can hurt there teeth... just don't send them to bed with a sippy with milk or juice in the cup.

I see nothing wrong with what you are doing. I just thought I would share with you what we do at our house. I hate to find sippy cups that have been under a bed or tucked away in the corner or in the toy box, and you not know how long it has been there.

Have a nice day

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K.R.

answers from Toledo on

I am a preschool teacher and a few weeks ago I attended a training by a dental clinic informing us of all the "new theories" about sippys and bottle and such. This dentist never discussed it causing cosmetic damage to teeth, just that juice and milk can of course cause baby bottle rot on their teeth and gums. Because of course the sugar and such sits on their teeth and cause decay. I have seen this many times through my 12 years in education and it is not pleasant. But it sounds as if you are only putting water in it? I have a 2 year old and I put a sippy of water by her bed at night because I figure if I am thirsty in the middle of the night I get a drink, my daughter cannot do that. The dentist also said it depends on the type of sippy. It is supposed to be best to stay away from the ones that resemble bottles with the silicone tops/nipples. NUBY makes those! I suppose the best thing to do is ask your dentist or hygentist what they suggest! I hope that helps!

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

You know, I've been wondering the same thing with my kids, but I honestly don't think it's a big deal to worry over.

I have a four and a five year old. They both drink out of regular cups just fine, but sometimes when they're playing or watching tv in my bedroom they'll say "can I have something to drink in a sippy cup?" because they want to take it to their rooms, and cups without lids have to stay on the kitchen table in our house. So anyway, lately I've actually been thinking of just giving away all of my sippy cups, that way when they ask I can say "oh, sorry, I don't have sippy cups anymore because you guys are so big that I gave them all away". I wonder sometimes when I give them to them, like thinking they're too big, but it's only a cup, and that's the way I look at it. All of mine have the hard plastic spouts, so it's not like they're chewing on anything soft and ruining their teeth, but I really do think I'm just going to get rid of them. So, my answer to you would be "It's not a big deal". There are many many other issues you could be focused on, and as long as they do know how to drink out of regular cups easily, then I just don't think it's a big deal. But, having said that, I would definitely try to not use them on your five year old as much as you can. I probably let my 5 year old use one maybe a few times a week.....for now.....

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D.I.

answers from South Bend on

As long as he is using a cup every other time a sippy cup at bedtime or in the car is fine. The cup wont hurt is teeth as long as it is only water in the cup. There have been issues with kids though choking at night using sippy cups or even bottles. I would suggest maybe giving him a drink in a regular cup right before bed and making sure he goes potty before he goes to bed. I don't foresee any issues as far as giving him a sipper cup at certain times and I'm sure he will be fine.
D.

I am a 31 yr. old married mom of almost 12 yrs. this Nov. and I stay at home. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10 yrs., 7 yrs., and 4 yrs.

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S.J.

answers from Cincinnati on

I haven't heard it would hurt teeth, but my grandson wants his when he goes to bed with water, and I have this feeling it reminds him of his long gone bottle, has same affects drinking from it. I could be wrong?

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

i'd have to say taht if he can use a cup well then it's best to let him and have him leave it at the table or on his nightstand at bedtime that being said though my kids slept with sippy cups till age 4 or so like you i did water, nothing like losing a cup of milk or having them keep it under the covers when it's warm and having it go sour, lol. and their teeth are perfectly fine. really it's up to you we still take water bottles in the car for any trip that isn't a few minutes away and my oldest is 8. though it does mean more potty breaks when they have cups in the car, just like it seems my kids get up a lot to potty at night because they drink a cup of water after getting into bed, just my thoughts, good luck

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J.B.

answers from Dayton on

I personally don't see how a sippy cup can ruin their teeth. Usually the problem is with sugary drinks like milk and juice and not the sippy cup itself.

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L.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

I hope this doesn't show twice...I hit a wrong key and had to start over. I started both my kids (respectfully 9&7 now) on a sippy at one year. I had nursed them both for 9 mos. Had to stop the first for being pregnant and the second just weened herself and didn't seem to want it anymore. Anyway, between 9 mos & a year I pumped & they both had nurser bottles. Then, for their first birthdays, each was introduced to the Sippy cup. We ended up later getting those bottle looking things and they took very well to them (for when we were away from the house). I never had to break them from the bottle....it's very easy if you switch them at a young age. This makes the transition almost unnoticable.

Now, as to wether it's bad or not....I don't think so. Heck, my kids have been drinking from a regular cup for a few years. But I would say they did a sippy or a sippy-like cup until they were about 5. I hope that helps in some way. Good luck to you & your family...esp. your baby within:).

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A.W.

answers from Columbus on

My son is 6 and my daughter is 4 and they are both very capable of drinking out of regular cups but they are also very sneaky and will take their drinks into the play room where they know they are not allowed to have them and of course every time they get spilled so if they want a drink other than at meal time I give them sippy cups still. I just had both of them at the dentist and they both have perfect teeth (no cavities.)

I have come to a point in my own parenting that I am never going to be able to get everything right so I listen to what other people have to say and do what works for my family!! I have 3 children and they are healthy and happy so I must be doing something right!!

Hope this helps you a little!!
A.

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M.S.

answers from Indianapolis on

hi P., i dont see a thing wrong with a sippy cup for anything, to me its a great improvent from cup for children.id put juice , milk or what ever i wanted in it. dont worry what other people say, its yur child. when the child gets ready to quit it it willso dont worry. best of luck , M.

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T.F.

answers from Indianapolis on

I personally would not use a sippy cup for a child of this age. Only because of what I've heard from my kids' pediatric dentist. They say using the sippy cup like this can affect the child's "bite" because of the cup's design and how the child has it in the roof of their mouth and something to do with the sucking. However, it would seem that your child's limited use of the sippy might not make that much of a difference. I guess that is a call you will have to make for yourself. I would ask your dentist for his/her opinion.
Good luck!
Mother of 4 children, 2 girls and 2 boys, ages 2, 6, 8 and 10.

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C.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

P.,

My children are now 24 and 20 and this is what I did. Around the age of 3 I bought each of them their very own thermal coffee mug for the car. Any time we went out they had their mug. They loved it. I think this might be your solution. You said your child was almost 5. So take him to the local conveince store and let him pick out his own mug, or Wal-mart. He can choose his own color, style etc. It's his. You just make sure that you keep a straw in the whole that you drink from. If you still have him in a car seat he can sit it next to him in the seat. My kids loved them.

Hope this helps you out and I hope others will read it as I noticed there were a lot of postings about sippy cups.

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S.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I personally think it's fine he uses the sippy cup. It's no different than adults carrying a water bottle. You don't constantly suck on it, so it's not reforming the roof of the mouth or teeth structure.

I personally make the kids keep their drinks at the table. I started doing that with sippy's and open cups. They didn't like the transition, but that's life. I try to only use sippy's when we go out. (It seems that sippy cups end up in very odd places when they are playing. Imagine that!)

I also bought my boys, ages 2 and 3, little water bottles. The only way the water comes out is if they squeeze the bottle and pull open the nozzle. It also has a lid that goes over the nozzle cap. You have to squeeze with some pressure to get the water out, so they can't spray it on the walls--or anything else ornery.

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C.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

I would bring up my concerns with a dentist but personall feel it's not in their mouth long enough to effect development. Binkys and thumb sucking yes but not sippy cups. I think you are doing the right thing.

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J.M.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My daughter is 4 and we try to have her drink from a regular cup, but she very frequently spills her drinks on the table. This doesn't bother me though, I think of it as a learning opportunity. She now knows what to do when she spills something, rather than crying and getting upset, she goes straight to the drawer for a towel. She now wants her drinks from sippy cups pretty frequently. She is an older sibling so I don't know if it is because her brother and sister are drinking from sippys or what... but, I don't see anything wrong with your son drinking from a sippy. However, I would encourage him to drink from a regular cup as much as possible... Hope this helps :o)

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