I went on a search for the best reusable drinking straws for kids as I attempted to transition my children from their sippy cups to regular glassware. It took awhile to remove the cups permanently from our home. It happened when I finally broke the habit of giving the cups to them – they are mostly spill-proof and so convenient after all – and my kids broke the habit of needing them to drink from: after years of use, they were part of their routine. With much internal fanfare, I threw them all in the recycle bin. After using those plastics for 6+ years, I was so excited to never see another one in my house again. This was a huge accomplishment! Then I began my quest for the best straws for kids.
Best Reusable Drinking Straws for Kids
Straws in their Drinks
I didn’t think transitioning to an actual glass would be so difficult. I was nervous about spills on our carpet as we often have drinks in our living room. However, I was excited about putting the glasses in the dishwasher, guilt-free, unlike with plastic. My kids weren’t very happy about the change until I put straws in their glasses.
Drinks are more fun with straws
I remember that one of the advantages of sippy cups was that less fluid remained on the kids’ teeth. I had once read that straws did the same thing. So I started putting straws in the kids’ drinks to help their teeth. (When they have water, we don’t use straws.) And it would make it fun for them as they transitioned to glass too.
Lots of Options for Straws for Kids
Paper Straws for Kids
My sister had given us a beautiful box of paper Halloween straws that I found in my pantry. They are thicker-than-paper straws and come in really fun colors. I like that they are biodegradable and so festive.
For a low cost, they would really dress up a party. Biodegradable Paper Straws. It would be convenient and cool to put them in a straw decanter on the kitchen counter and change the colors out with the seasons as desired, especially since I rarely have holiday decorations in my kitchen. And giving the kids different straws each day would be lots of fun for them. I really thought these could be the best straws for kids.
The problem for us, while the paper straws are so cute, if my kids didn’t drink their drinks in a timely manner, the paper straws would start to come apart. I started to only use them for small drinks at meals, not when I leave out their “between-meal” drinks. I now buy them for parties and may use them when friends come over but not for our everyday drinking straws. Also, I started feeling guilty as this is a lot of unnecessary waste in our landfills, even if they are made of paper. The great news though is the kind of paper straws we tried are biodegradable and made with safe food dyes. They are definitely worth a try!
Pros and cons of paper straws
Pros of paper straws: Ours were made of biodegradable paper; made with safe food dyes; inexpensive; fun and festive; available in lots of colors
Cons of paper straws: Unnecessary waste in our landfills; ours were made in China; come apart in drink if left too long
Plastic Straws for Kids
By now my kids were mostly transitioned to glassware and were really enjoying using straws. I am embarrassed to admit, the second kid-friendly straws we tried were those inexpensive, plastic straws. Plastic! The very thing I am trying to stop using. But they are so cheap (100 for $1!) and easy and disposable, and my kids just love these straws.
One of the problems was that I found myself giving them a new straw for each drink because they were inexpensive. I thought, “They are so cheap. Why waste time and water cleaning them, trying to remember who had which color, when I can just throw them away?”
When I realized this could be 5-8 straws a day, per child, I felt sick about filling up our landfills unnecessarily. I started giving each child a certain color for the day and rinsing them off to reuse them for that day. After a few days of this, it still wasn’t sitting right with me. What was I doing? These are made of plastic, the very material I am trying to get away from. I am having my children put these straws in their mouths. And, they are made from plastic made in China! We used the rest of the straws for crafts, and I never bought another straw again.
Pros and cons of plastic straws
Pros of supermarket plastic straws: Found in many stores; cheap; convenient
Cons of supermarket plastic straws: Filling up landfills; made of plastic; made in China
Silicone Straws for Kids
At first, we loved using these silicone, two-part reusable drinking straws. Reusable Drinking Straws BPA-free Silicone The straws I bought were a tie-dye pattern, and my kids enjoyed mixing the tops and bottoms. (They are also available in blue/green and pink/green.) We lost one of the tops but still were able to use the one piece.
Because these reusable drinking straws come apart, they are easy to clean. They are dishwasher-safe, however, I did not do so as I was afraid the silicone would break down. Like all reusable drinking straws, you should rinse them out immediately after use, especially after drinking a thicker drink. Use a straw washing brush to prevent mold buildup. They are wide enough for smoothies. I kept them upright in separate pieces in a glass to facilitate drying.
You must clean them out – don’t just run them under water or put them in the dishwasher. Use a straw cleaner or a pipe cleaner or something, or you will have mold growing. If you clean these straws properly from the start, I would highly recommend using them.
Pros and cons of silicone straws
Pros of silicone reusable drinking straws: reusable; saves money and landfills; easy to clean; dishwasher safe; BPA-free silicone; non-toxic; good for “chewers”
Cons of silicone reusable straws: material still a bit questionable for some; made in China
We even tried Glass Straws for Kids
While the Hummingbird Glass Reusable Drinking Straws option seemed to be the best, safest choice from a health vantage, I was just too worried about the kids breaking them, biting them, or banging their teeth with them, so at first I didn’t buy them. But then I did, and I like them a lot. I have let my kids use them but only while seated at the table, when they aren’t messing around. I think they are the best overall option, just not the best reusable drinking straws for kids because of the safety issue. However, there are a lot of positives: You don’t have to worry about toxins leaching into your system. They are usually wider than typical plastic straws which makes it easier to drink thick smoothies, etc. from. They are also a lot easier to clean as I can see through them.
This is a nice set of glass straws Glass Drinking Straws
Pros and cons of glass straws
Cons of glass straws: danger of breaking
Epica Stainless Steel Drinking Straws are one of the Best Reusable Drinking Straws for Kids
I further researched reusable drinking straws and remembered that years ago, pre-kids, I purchased some stainless steel reusable drinking straws. Who knows where they ended up? Easily, I found some nice ones online Epica Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, Set of 4 Free Cleaning Brush Included and ordered them.
I was very excited about this option because they would be excellent for the environment as they were a one-time purchase, thereby saving me money. And the ones I found online (link above) are made from food-safe, 18/10 stainless steel and shouldn’t rust or break. And because they are not pliable, they came already “bent.” They also came with a cleaning brush.
Stainless steel straws
My kids enjoyed these fun straws right away. They liked that the straw became cold too. Depending on your drink, if you add ice cubes or are drinking a frozen drink, you may or may not enjoy this.I really liked that the stainless steel reusable drinking straws came with a brush to clean them. After my experience with the silicone reusable drinking straws, I would highly recommend you frequently brush the straws out in addition to running them in the dishwasher. I like being able to put them into the dishwasher guilt-free. It’s great to not worry about toxins seeping out after multiple dishwasher runs. I was worried about a metallic taste but my husband and I notice one.
They are not really wide enough for smoothies but you could probably find some larger ones on Amazon.com.
Kids must be mindful while using them so they don’t bump their teeth. This is not a problem if your kids stay seated while drinking but if your kids carry their drinks around while playing you would not want them to use these straws. We use these for when they are sitting and drinking at the table only.
Pros and cons of stainless steel straws
Pros for stainless steel reusable drinking straws: reusable; easy to clean with brush and dishwasher; durable; not plastic; non-porous, safe material to drink from; one-time purchase will save money, no BPA, phthalates, stainless steel won’t rust, scratch, chip or break!
Cons for stainless steel straws: must be careful not to hit teeth; might not be wide enough for smoothies; made in China
Bamboo Straws for Kids
Update: I just learned of bamboo straws, and while I haven’t tried them yet, I saw they are available on Amazon. They seem like another excellent option as they are made from a renewable source. You can reuse them. Before buying them on Amazon, I would definitely search a few of the bamboo straws as some are as long as 10 inches and reviewers complained the holes weren’t drilled all the way through. Bamboo straws are washable and sustainable and made from a natural material.
I think these would be great straws for kids as well.
Be sure to wash them well after each use and to let them dry out completely before storing them.
Pros and cons of bamboo straws
Pros of bamboo straws: made with renewable, eco-friendly material, non-toxic, shouldn’t break; unique gift idea; each one should be a little bit different; you can put certain brands in the dishwasher; shouldn’t hurt child’s teeth if straws hits tooth. These might be the best straws for kids!
Cons of bamboo straws: some are wider than others and may not fit in all cups with holes
We love products made with renewable bamboo.
Best straws for kids
Really, who knew finding safe reusable drinking straws would be so fun? After spending a few weeks, I am happy to have found the best reusable drinking straws for kids. The stainless steel reusable drinking straws have been working for our family and will be the straws we use. (That is, until we test out the eco-friendly bamboo straws which look fantastic!)
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We don’t use straws all the time but when we do, I feel good about using something safe and reusable that also helps to keep the juice and milk off my children’s teeth. I’m also thrilled we are no longer using plastic straws then throwing them away, will fill up our landfills. We are successfully eliminating the plastic in our kitchen and are happy with these stainless steel straws, the best reusable drinking straws for kids.