Two viral Facebook posts are drawing attention to a parenting issue that is rarely discussed: the mold that builds up in toddlers' sippy cups.
The posts were written by two women, Marie-Pier L'Hostie and Penny Powell, both of Montreal, Canada. The two messages both shared the story of a mutual friend named Simon O'kanada who wondered why his young son was sick, BuzzFeed News reported.
According to the posts, the man broke open the anti-spill guard of his son's sippy cup and discovered it was filled with mold. He reportedly called the company that manufactured the cup, but the woman who answered the phone did not take his complaint seriously.
L'Hostie and Powell warned that the mold in the sippy cup remains even after washing the cup by hand and in the dishwasher, and that it could not be seen without breaking the cup open.
The two women originally shared their posts with members of a Facebook group for mothers, many of whom reported discovering mold in their children's sippy cups as well.
The posts have since gone viral, according to BuzzFeed.
L'Hostie's message, which was posted on Feb. 18, received over 2,400 likes and 46,000 shares in just one week.
Facebook users writing in the comments section shared their own experiences with the cup and urged others to wash them thoroughly.
"They are supposed to be taken apart and washed," one commenter advised.
"I'm unable to open mine up even with pliers," another user wrote. "However I can see the wet black [mold] in the opening. My little one only used this cup 2-3 times – so I'm surprised at the build up already!"
Powell's message, posted on Feb. 19, has been shared more than 97,000 times in six days.
The manufacturer of the sippy cup, Tommee Tippee, responded to parents' concerns on Facebook on Feb. 22, according to BuzzFeed News. A representative from the company's French division posted a message directing parents to a diagram that explains how to properly clean the cups and offered a consumer hotline number where they can share their concerns.
Several posters responding to the message, however, complained that the suggested cleaning methods did not remove mold from the cups.
When BuzzFeed News contacted Tommee Tippee to ask whether it has received similar complaints from customers in the U.S. or the U.K., the company wrote back with this official statement:
We always welcome parents’ feedback, comments and ideas. We continually develop our products and look for ways to improve them, so feedback from parents is vital to us. Positive feedback tells us we’re doing the right thing, but just as importantly, like all companies, we learn even more when negative experiences are brought to our attention.
We’ve sold millions of Sippee cups and have had some very positive feedback. However, we know from visitor posts that a few people have not had a good experience with the valve part of the cup. For this we sincerely [apologize] and we are actively following up on any concerns raised.
We understand that the wellbeing of little ones is paramount and we can reassure all parents that we have extensively tested the valves. We have also been testing them with a panel of 140 mums in the United States.
The results support that when used with recommended liquids (cold, light fluids including water and non-pulp juices) and cleaned in line with instructions, there are no problems. Difficulties have arisen though when liquids that are not recommended for use in the cups have been used, like thick formula milk, pulpy juice and warm liquids. We also recommend that cups are not left for long periods before being cleaned.
However, we do understand that there may be other factors that are difficult to replicate in our testing, so our Careline team would like to speak directly to any parents who are experiencing problems. This will allow us to hear their views, and replace the cup with an alternative of their choice. The number to call is 0 800 10 07 25.
We’ve also prepared a page on our website to help parents care for their cups and valves.