Beware of Children’s Dinnerware: Which Ones Are Safe?

December 17, 2013 Updated: December 17, 2013

Have you ever seen those cheap plastic plates for children at a dollar store or a party store and thought your children might like them?

Maybe you’ve even been tempted to actually purchase them because your child’s favorite cartoon character is on them.

Don’t do it.

The only thing good about those plates is the way they look. They will leach harmful chemicals into your child’s food. Plus, over time, the surface of the plates starts to peel. I can’t imagine the plastics peeling from those dishes are good for your children, especially if they get mixed in with food.

Understandably, many parents choose to serve their children food and drinks in plastic because they fear breakage. However, here are some safer alternatives.

Use the Family’s Dinnerware

What dishes does the rest of your family eat from?

My cupboards are fully stocked with Corelle dishes. Normally I would be hesitant to let my children use glass dishes because of the high potential for breakage. Corelle dishes are relatively break-resistant. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve dropped mine on my tile floors and have found them free of chips.

The process of making Corelle dinnerware involves two layers of glass, which makes them stronger and gives you the safety benefits of glass without the drawbacks. They come in a variety of patterns or plain and are resistant to fading and chipping, so you won’t have any mystery patterns showing up in your child’s food.

For me, one of the biggest benefits of Corelle is that you are not buying special dishes for your children, so they have an unlimited shelf life.


The company Bambu offers a full line of products for children. As the name suggests, the dishes and utensils are made from bamboo. The products from this company are also free from dyes and chemicals.

Bambu’s product line is not limited to children’s dishes and utensils, but includes an array of items for the whole family, as well as tools for Mom (or Dad) to prepare meals in the kitchen.

Stainless Steel

Untangled Living’s ANYWare collection is a great stainless steel dinner set for children. Since they are made from stainless steel, the set does not contain the harmful chemicals like phthalates, PVC, BPA, lead, or other harmful toxins.

While somewhat pricey at $44 for a set (which includes a bowl, plate, cup, fork, and spoon), it does come with a lifetime guarantee. You will be able to use it with more than one child, and when you’re done using it, you can always pass it along to a friend or relative.

Not Your Everyday Plastic

Since many plastics are known to be less than ideal due to safety concerns, I wanted to find a plastic plate that meets all of a mom’s needs.

Smiling Planet offers a line of plates and bowls that are made from 100 percent recycled, 100 percent recyclable, medical-grade, high purity, No. 5 polypropylene. The products are CPSIA-compliant, use nontoxic inks, and are free of BPA, phthalates, PVC, and lead. In addition, Smiling Planet plates and bowls are dishwasher safe.

Whichever dishes you choose to use for your children, remember to pass them along once your children have outgrown them.

Maybe you have a friend with young children who could benefit from your eco-savvy. You could also donate them when you no longer need them, but whatever you do, try not to let your children’s dishes find their way to the trash. These dishes can last a very long time and can benefit a number of children.

Eco18 is a collective of creative-writing individuals from different backgrounds with a common goal—to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Their combined expertise, humor, and opinions explore green and sustainable in a practical, fun way.