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The Hidden Danger of Metal Water Bottles

Courtesy of the manufacturers

We’ve heard of tongues getting stuck on frozen poles (who can forget poor Flick in A Christmas Story?) but we never saw this horrible, freak accident coming. 

Sleek, stainless-steel water bottles have become all the rage with parents looking to avoid plastics. But they don't necessarily come free of peril. According to Rossen Reports on the NBC’s Today show, they can be seriously dangerous to children, who tend to stick their tongues into them when they drink.  

It turns out little tongues can actually get stuck inside the mouths of those bottles. And unlike plastic bottles, which can collapse and crinkle, stainless steel bottles won’t flex – and can even create a vacuum, causing the tongue to swell and get trapped it inside. (Stop laughing. It’s not funny.) 

The Today show spoke to Mary Kate Person and her parents. Person was trying to get the very last drops of her drink recently when her tongue got jammed into the bottle.

She was taken to the ER, where docs warned her parents of two worst-case scenarios: Mary Kate would either suffocate or lose her tongue. Lucky for her, doctors were able to remove the bottle, but she spent three hours in surgery and three days in intensive care.

Plus: A Great Water Bottle for Family Travel

It's still a super-rare occurrence, but at least two other kids have had bottles removed from their tongues, according to NBC.

The best advice: Use a bottle with a spout top or straw. Don’t feel like you have to rule out all plastics. (There plenty of BPA-free options.)

Here are a few water bottles we like (pictured above):  

1 Kid Basix Safe Sippy2, ($12.50) is stainless steel and works as spouted sippy or straw cup. 

2 Contigo Autoseal Kids Trekker Cup ($7) lets kids press a button to open and close the cup, creating a leak-proof seal. (Plus, it looks just as sleek as stainless steel varieties.)

3 The 12-ounce Kleen Kanteen Sports Bottle ($17) comes with a soft silicone spout and, should your kid remove the top to guzzle, a wide neck with plenty of tongue room.