What Are Safe Plates & Cups for My Kids?

Written by lawrence adams
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What Are Safe Plates & Cups for My Kids?
Some dishes and cups may pose health risks to your children. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Many parents and health-care professionals have expressed concern about the chemicals found in kids' dinnerware. Children's plates and cups often contain bisphenol-A (BPA), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalate and melamine. These chemicals may pose serious health risks to growing children. Carefully note the compounds in your dishes and cups to ensure that they are safe for children.

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Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a type of metal that contains high levels of chromium and iron. Its surface is non-porous, preventing dirt and bacteria from accumulating. Stainless steel cups and dishes do not contain the dangerous chemicals in some plastics and china. Their long lifespan and durability make them suitable choices for children.


Ceramic dishes and cups are heavy and durable. Some ceramic products feature decorative glazes that contain lead, which poses a serious health risk to growing children. Not all ceramic dinnerware is dangerous, however. Companies do manufacture lead-free ceramic dishes that are safe for kids. Alternatively, a local artisan may agree to create dishes and cups with lead-free glazes.


Choosing dishes made from natural products decreases potential health risks associated with the manufacturing process. Wooden dishes are typically made from bamboo, olive wood, teak or similar woods. Although wooden dishes are generally free of foreign chemicals, their porous surfaces may harbour bacteria. Clean and disinfect wooden dishes frequently to diminish the risk of food-borne pathogens.


Some parents vilify plastics for containing a large number of foreign chemicals. However, environmental concerns prompted some companies to manufacture safer, eco-friendly plastic dinnerware. Choose plates labelled BPA-, phthalate-, melamine- and PVC-free to avoid potentially toxic chemicals. Carefully check labels to identify materials used to make the plastic dishes and cups.

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