Is There A Dribble-Proof Sippy Cup?

Slate.com contributor Chris Brantley recently set out to determine which sippy cup is the best at preventing a soul-crushing, spilled-juice situation for parents. He discusses the results of his unscientific study with host Guy Raz.

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GUY RAZ, host:

Angus Brantley is a 2-year-old whose dad is on an obsessive quest, the quest to find the perfect sippy cup. Chip Brantley and his wife bought so many sippy cups for young Angus they couldn't keep track. They'd use one sippy cup for a while, something would go wrong, they'd get another one. In the end, they were left with dozens of mismatched lids and cups. And when one got misplaced they barely noticed until that is, the smell forced them to pay attention, spoiled milk puddle in the pocket of a stroller or under the seat of a car or at the bottom of a purse. Chip Brantley was fed up, so he convened a panel of experts to tackle the problem. And he wrote about his findings this week in slate.com.

And Chip Brantley joins us from WBHM in Birmingham, Alabama. Welcome.

Mr. CHIP BRANTLEY: Thanks, Guy.

RAZ: Some of these sippy cups that you tested are made of like, you know, space aged material. I mean, they're not just like a piece of plastic with a lid on them, right? I mean, describe what some of these cups look like.

Mr. BRANTLEY: Well, you've got plastic cups on the one hand and then you've got stainless steel cups. So you've got, for example, a cup that Thermos makes that is similar to an actual thermos except that it's a called a Foogo, and it's for toddlers.

Then, there's another brand called Sigg. That's the favorite of people like Cindy Crawford and Madonna who've been photographed giving their children sippy cups.

RAZ: And tell me, how did you guys test these sippy cups?

Mr. BRANTLEY: Well, you know, I started by, as you said, convening a bunch of experts namely the parents of young children and ask them what was most important to them when they were out in the market for a sippy cup?

RAZ: What was the most important quality for you?

Mr. BRANTLEY: Well, the most important quality for me and for most of the parents that I've talked to is leak proofness. If a sippy cup cannot keep the liquid in the cup, then it's virtually useless.

RAZ: Okay. Now, there's one that is your favorite. It's the Nalgene Grip-N-Gulp bottle.

Mr. BRANTLEY: It was not only my favorite, but it was the favorite of the majority of the panel.

RAZ: That's a 12-ounce bottle, which - for a very thirsty two-year-old.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BRANTLEY: That's right. It is a large cylinder. The sides are straight. It's fairly easy to hold even for a small child. And it's got like a, you know, an outdoorsy vibe to it which appealed to a lot of the parents.

RAZ: Children, when they grow up, often complain it's the parents who make all the decisions for them.

Mr. BRANTLEY: That's right.

RAZ: So, I mean, did you - were you able to sort of, you know, use one of the kids to figure out which one they, you know?

Mr. BRANTLEY: Well, we didn't bring kids into it. And the reason we didn't is because in talking to other parents, we found that there are two types of children. There's the child who will only use one sippy cup, in which case this experiment is not very helpful for that parent, because that parent is pretty much locked into that one sippy cup. And then there are kids who will use any sippy cup. And so if a kid will use any sippy cup, then really, the parent kind of, I think, is a better judge about what is good for that child at this point. But there are some people who I think just don't even like to use sippy cups because they want to actually teach their children how to drink out of...

RAZ: Out of the regular cup.

Mr. BRANTLEY: Delay them, yeah. We've attempted the plastic cup with the straw. We've had mixed results. But, you know, I think life is possible without sippy cups.

RAZ: Chip Brantley is the author of "The Perfect Fruit: Good Breeding, Bad Seeds and the Hunt for the Elusive Pluot," which was published by Bloomsbury this past week. You can find his piece on sippy cups at slate.com.

Mr. Brantley, thanks so much.

BRANTLEY: Thanks, Guy.

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