Dental Health Topics

Choosing the Right Sippy Cup

Choosing the Right Sippy Cup

Sippy cups. The cup for toddlers.


Or, is it?


After all, there’s the transition cup, the toddler cup and the kid bottle.


Which is correct?


And how about all the styles and materials to choose from? Or the fact that certain types of sippy cups tend to land kids in the E.R.?


Who knew cups were this difficult?!


We’re going to help you wade through all this muck thanks to the experience of some very well-educated Mommy bloggers. Off we go!
Which type of sippy cup?


The first thing you’ll want to figure out is: are you even using the correct cup? Here are some of the names:

  • Transition cup: This cup will get you from breast and bottle-feeding to your child’s first cup. It’ll often have two handles and a soft nipple that’s easy on your baby’s gums. This cup is best for kids aged between 4-12 months.
  • Toddler cup:  In order to help your child work on dexterity, most won’t have handles. And in this cup, you’ll see all sorts of straws and spouts. The toddler cup is aimed at kids between 12 months and 3 years old.
  • Kid Bottle: Once your kids reach the age of 3, they’ve likely had all their teeth come in and are most certainly on the move! They’re much bigger than toddler cups and will look more like your own water bottle – just kid-sized. The kid bottle is for children over 3.

What material? 

All sorts of obstacles exist with materials.

With plastic, parents are often concerned about BPA.

 Glass is great, but if you thought a spill was bad, how about a spill with shattered glass everywhere?

Stainless steel? Great, but heavy.

 Silicone looks like a good option as well, but the jury is still out on its safety.

Essentially, you must decide for yourself after weighing all the pros and cons of each material.
Which spout, straw or valve? 

Well, the American Dental Association is not a fan of valves – largely because they prolong the consumption of liquids via sucking method instead of sipping.

And, when it comes to straws or spouts, a straw is generally preferred because it helps keep liquid off the front teeth, which can lead to cavities over time.

What about the hazards? 

Each of these containers, with perhaps the exception of the soft-spouted cup, can also be hazardous should your child fall with one of them in their hand.

In fact, every four hours a child somewhere lands in the emergency room because of a sippy cup injury. Ouch!
So what do you think? Do you have more of an idea now as to the differences between sippy cups? Do you have more questions?

Certainly, a lot of the decision-making comes down to your own preferences for materials and risk tolerance. 

If you’d like to dig even deeper, check out the incredibly comprehensive “Sippy Cup Reviews” post on, which served as inspiration for this article. We love the site – that Mommy blogger is a pediatrician!