How Long Can Milk Sit Out in a Toddler Sippy Cup?

When you make the transition from bottle or breast to a toddler sippy cup, you feel like you have just accomplished something truly remarkable.  It’s freeing in many ways, and suddenly you feel like you have a kid instead of a baby.  You may feel delighted that your child has adapted to the cup so well until you find them sitting with a cup of milk guzzling it down.  You may be appalled that they are drinking milk that is a few hours old, but they don’t seem fazed.  Like most parents, you may then wonder if the milk is safe for them to be drinking or not!

Toddlers, Sippy Cups and Warm Milk

It’s normal for a toddler to toddle off with a cup full of milk.  You assume that they will drink it, but then you find them drinking it happily a while later.  Chances are, if your toddler does this and doesn’t complain about the milk, then it is still safe to drink, and it will cause no harm to them.  Of course, a toddler doesn’t know how old the milk is, so you need to know what sort of time frame is safe and what is not.

According to most experts, milk can sit out at room temperature for two hours and still be safe to use.  If the milk has been out for two hours and 15 minutes, chances are it is probably still safe, but you probably shouldn’t take that risk with your child.  Any time you find a toddler cup that has been sitting out, and it has been out for two hours or more, dump the milk out, rinse the cup, and start over!  If you are not sure how old the sippy cup contents are, dump it out! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

A great way to avoid drinking old milk is to ensure that your child does not leave the kitchen or dining area with the cup.  This can be difficult to do, especially when you have worked so hard to get your toddler to accept the cup, but this will help you keep tabs on the milk.  If you can, tell your toddler that once they finish drinking, they should put their cup in the refrigerator or give it to you to put in the fridge.

If the sippy cup has not been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, your toddler can continue to drink from the cup.  If your child drinks out of a cup and then puts it in the refrigerator, they can continue to drink out of that cup for 24 hours.  Anything longer may allow for bacteria to grow in the cup.  Toddler cups need to be washed at very least every 24 hours, regardless of whether the child is drinking milk, juice, or water out of it.