Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The best cups and water bottles for kids and teens with disabilities

Enabling Max to drink out of a cup has been a journey; finding one he could grasp and control took time, but he's doing well these days and happily guzzling lots of water, milk and bazillions of chocolate milkshakes. These are the cups and water bottles that come recommended by me, other parents of children with disabilities and adults with disabilities. It's a good idea to check in with with your child's speech or feeding therapist about which one will work best for your child's abilities. Cheers!


Sassy Grow Up Cup
"My child is 4.5-ish, and our favorite is the Sassy Grow Up cup," says Cassandra. "Even when you drop it, it doesn't leak like the Munchkin brand did. We tried several straw cups, but he's a chewer and demolished the straws!" It has a 360-design for drinking anywhere around the room, plus it's BPA-free and top-rack dishwasher safe. You can buy it here.

Nuby No Spill 360 Weighted Straw Grip 'N Sip Tritan Cup 
"This cup is awesome for kids can't or refuse to hold one, and who can't use a straw," says one mom. A soft silicone spout prevents drips, while the touch-flo features regulates fluid intake with a child's sucking action. When they stop sucking the spout closes, and voila—leak resistant. Buy it here.

Reusable juice boxes
"It's the only think my daughter drinks from easily that is good for lunches and school," says Maggie of the Drink in the Box Reusuable Drink and Juice Box Container by Percidio Designs. "Doesn't spill, straw top, she can see how much is left. Love it!" BPA- and phthalate-free. You can buy it here. "Our son has used this one for many years," says Pamela of Rubbermaid's Litterless Juiceboxes. Top-rack dishwasher safe. You can buy a six-pack here.

Lolla Cup
"Lolla Cup has been a godsend for us!" says Tamara. "They are expensive but have a weighted straw, so it's easy to drink at any angle and there's no valve so it doesn't require a strong suck." Free of BPH and phthalates, with all parts made in the USA. Available in several colors. You can buy it here.

Flexi Nosey Cut-Out Cup 
Available in small (holds 1 oz.) medium (2 oz) and large (8 oz), or a combo pack with all three sizes, these are what therapists first tried on Max to help him drink. The cut-out helps children avoid tilting their head back to drink. Made in the USA; BPA- and phthalate-free. 

Thinkbaby Straw Cup
"We recently discovered the Thinkbaby Straw Cup and it's been wonderful for our three-year-old with hemiplegia—lightweight, perfect handles, holds a decent amount, never leaks!" says Kelly. "I'm going to buy one in every color." Free of BPA and phthalates. You can buy it here.

Recessed Lid Cup
An alternative to a sippy cup, this one has two handles and a recessed lid to encourage tongue retraction and improved lip closure. "We like this one for teaching open-mouth drinking—our SLP recommended it," says Tina. BPA- and phthalate-free. You can buy it here.

Pigeon MagMag Spout Cup
"My son is about 20 months, and we've found the Pigeon MagMag Spout Cup a lifesaver," says Wendy. It's BPA-free, with angled handles for easier holding and a soft and flexible spout. You can buy it here. (Similar to this: The Munchkin LATCH transition cup, available here.)

The Reflo Smart Cup 
This is what Max uses these days. You plug the top of the cup with the clear disc, and only a little liquid flows out, not a gusher. "We've been using Reflo cups since my son started school at 3," says Nicole. "He likes that they look like a normal cup when he's at lunch at school, and it slows the flow so he doesn't get a face-full every time he tips it up. He's 9 and still uses it daily." Made in the USA. Available in blueclearred/violetbright green or a four-pack with all colors.

Wow Cups
"My almost 9-year-old loves them," says Sara. "He needs help to open and close them, but as along as they're sealed, they don't spill." Free of BPA and phthalates. Available in six colors; you can buy a single here, or a four-pack here.

B. Box Sippy Cup
"No matter how a child is positioned or holding the cup, the weighted straw is in the water," says Rhi. "My son struggled with valves, but was fine with this one." Dishwasher safe and free of BPA, phthalates and PVC. Available in blueberry, pomegranate ink, apple, and orange.

Talktools Honey Bear Drinking Cup with 2 Flexible Straws
This little guy is a speech therapist go-to for helping a child learn to drink from a straw. Max still isn't there yet, but hopefully one of these days he'll...suck. I was heartened by this comment from Janine: "I find it easiest to drink fro a straw. But it took me 21 years to figure that out!" You can buy it here; it comes with one replacement straw.


Boon Snug Spout
"We have had great success with Snug Spout covers for regular cups for my brother, who is 24 with cerebral palsy with fairly decent mobility in arms but difficult with fine-motor skills and gross-motor planning," says Christiana. These genius thingies are 100% silicone, spill-proof, and they stretch over most cup sizes (2.5"-3.75" diameter). You can get a pack with three spouts plus a cup here.

Bendy Straws
"I always have a few on me—I put them in a travel toothbrush holder in my purse!" says Jill. "As long as I have a Bendy straw, we are good to go," adds Christy. You can buy them here.


This lightweight bottle works for kids and adults with the dexterity to press a button that opens the drinking spout. It's top-rack dishwasher safe, and BPA-free. "It's easy for my daughter to open and close, and doesn't break if she drops it," says Billie. Addds Elias, "We use this one too, it's easier to clean than others. Plus it's a relatively soft spout and a wide enough aperture to allow for his thickened drinks." BPA-free, top-rack dishwasher safe. Available in 20 ounce, 24 ounces, 32 ounce and 40 ounce in various colors. You can buy it here.

Sistema Twist 'N Sip Bottle
"I use this bottle because you can open it with the palm of your hand, no super-fine finger movements needed," says Ricky. "The bottle itself is somewhat squeeze-y, so a super-strong suck isn't needed (this is a big deal for me). Because of the sports top, it doesn't leak much if tipped over, even while it's open." Made in New Zealand; free of BPA and phthalates; available in several colors. You can buy it here.

Hydro Flask 
"One-handed operation, doesn't leak if upright, stays cold," says Melissa. Made of 18/8 food-grade steel, with a double-wall vacuum; BPA- and phthalate-free. You can buy it here.

OXO Strive Propel
"This is the best one for us," says Theresea. "Flexible straw, built in handle to slip thumb into for self feeding, various sizes available, age-appropriate for a teen. We don't go anywhere without one." Dishwasher safe and BPA-free. You can buy it here.

The Dopper  Original
The genius of this 15.2 oz. water bottle is that it's also a cup. Unscrew the cap and your child can drink straight from the spout. Twist off the metal top and voila, a cup. BPA and phthalate free, and fully recyclable. Available in a variety of colors here.

Camelbak Eddy
"My kid loves the chewy valve straw so much that we take them everywhere we go, he even takes one to school every day," says Nichole. "You can replace the valves if your child chews it to shreds. It's great for oral-sensory kids." Says Amanda, "I have to second this, though I use the adult ones as an adult with a disability. I like the wide handle on the lid that's easy to hook with one hand out of a backpack, and the fact that you can change the mouthpiece is a godsend since I am a bit of an oral-sensory seeker. I also work with children and youth with physical disabilities in a summer camp and many have the same bottle and they do well." BPA- and BPS-free, with a steel and polypropylene lid. Available in a variety of cool patterns, you can buy the kid version here (14 ounces) and the adult version here (20 ounces).

Fleximug Hands-Free Drinking Mug
Designed for people with physical disabilities and paralysis, it has a patented air vent that makes it wasy to use with mild-to-moderate reduced lung function. "This has given my son a bit of independence," says Brian. Made of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel; available in various straw lengths. You can buy it here.


  1. We love the 360 cups for our kids! My daughter with holoprosencephaly actually figured out how to do it before my other son did, which was pretty comical :)


  2. Target used to sell a cup with a solid, folding straw. It was grown-up looking, an ideal size, spill-resistant, and chew-proof. We bought a bunch, and that is what she uses. It is absolutely perfect for her. I don't know what we will do when her supply eventually breaks.

  3. Love the Contigo Autospout cups. We have the stainless ones. Great for kiddos cause it's a button push to flip open. And they have an amazing lifetime warranty.

  4. Hello! These are really neat products. I need a sippy cup that I can leave in my 12 year old's room at night that he won't chew up, but that give him the drinking capacity per sip that he wants. The ring valve (that go around the edge so it drinks just like a cup) he can pull of the ring or disk to chew on, and thus spilling water everywhere. I think I'm looking for a hard plastic spout lid that has no hinges and has larger holes for more drink to go through....are there any thoughts? Thank you.

    1. Hi, Amy. Check out the Contigo above, they make smaller versions, too—there are no ring valves to pull off.

  5. Thanks so much for this post! I was just thinking today I need to look into getting my son with CP a new water bottle---one that he can use more independently than his current one. I think some of the double-handle ones with weighted straws may work well for him.

  6. I'm looking for a cup that recreates a typical juice box. My client has no ability to suck, so we squeeze the juice box to put liquid in their mouth a bit at the time. Any thoughts

  7. Can someone suggest a cup for a 5 year old autistic child. He chews through hard or soft straws and has figured out how to unscrew 360° cups. Please help


Thanks for sharing!

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