Are Your Tot's Plastic Cups and Bowls Safe?

Yesterday, I attended a luncheon-panel discussion hosted by the March of Dimes. The topic was how to protect your baby from environmental hazards, both in utereo and once he’s born. The information was sobering, but I learned something new.

The speakers (pediatrician Maida P. Galvez, MD, and professor Frederica P. Perera, PhD) mentioned dangers that are already high on my radar, including secondhand smoke, pesticides, and mold, but the one that I haven’t thought about much is plastic.

Naively, I believed (trusted?) that every plastic product made for children was safe. However, I learned yesterday that that isn’t necessarily the case. Although many companies have switched over to safe plastics, some manufacturers still have not.

How do you know if a plastic is safe? It will have the number 1, 2, 4, or 5 on the bottom. Plastics with the number 3, 6, or 7 were made with phthalates, polystyrene foam, or bisphenol A, all of which have a harmful affect on children’s development. (For more info, visit the Mount Sinai Children’s Environment Health Center’s website.)

When I got home last night, I checked all of Mason’s plastic sippy cups, as well as his bottles (yes, he still drinks two a day) and the containers that I stored his baby food in–and was relieved to see the number 5 on the bottom.

Check out your plastics, too. We can’t always avoid breathing in second-hand smoke on the sidewalk, particularly if we live in a city like I do, but we can at least make sure that the containers we’re storing our kids’ food in, and the cups that they’re drinking from, are as safe as possible.

Photo: Plastic containers via Teresa Kasprzycka/