News | Published January 21, 2013

Metal water bottles and your kids’ safety

We keep hearing about health dangers associated with everyday household items. Here is another one to keep in mind:

It seems that those popular metal water bottles are sending kids to the emergency room because their little tongues are getting stuck in the small opening at the top.

NBC News reported recently that doctors are seeing more of these cases – and that the cases have been serious. So serious, they reported, that one company has stopped selling the bottles.

What happens is that when a child sticks his tongue in the small bottle opening, it can create a sort of suction, getting the tongue trapped and causing quick swelling that prevents the child from removing his tongue from the bottle. The screw-type threads at the bottle’s opening can increase this suction, making it impossible for the child to extract his tongue without help.

Treatment requires cutting the bottle in half to help reduce the pressure from the suction – which can be dangerous because of the electric surgical tools needed to cut the bottle are so close to the child’s face. In some cases, surgery was required to completely remove the tongue.

The fix: Replace the cap with a “sippy cap” that doesn’t require your child to put his mouth directly on the bottle and be tempted to shove his tongue into the opening. These caps screw right into the bottle and only cost $3 or so.