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Before becoming a mother, I obsessively hunted for elusive Manolo Blahnik Mary Jane shoes. Now, as the mother of a first-grader, I obsessively hunt for much more practical items ... like kid-friendly water bottles.
I still haven't found those Mary Janes in my size. But after a few years of searching for the ideal water bottle, I found a winner.
The perfect water bottle should be leak-proof, unbreakable and safe. My son should be able to open and close it easily, and it shouldn't leave the interior of his backpack feeling like the inside of a fetid pool. Is that asking too much?
I tried Lifefactory glass bottles, which are encased in nice silicone wraps — and they all broke. Shards of glass in my kid’s backpack? No thanks.
I’ve tried sturdy CamelBak bottles, but the plastic doesn't keep anything cold and the straws tend to flip up, leaking water over homework and turning crafts projects into sloppy messes.
So, after exhaustive mom-driven research, behold my discovery: the Contigo autoseal stainless steel water bottle. It has more than 1,100 reviews, and more than 80 percent of them are five stars.
Our pick: Contigo autoseal stainless steel water bottle, $23, Amazon
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Why? It keeps water cold for hours. The straw snaps in tight, so there’s almost no chance of it popping loose and spilling liquid all over books and clothes. And, best of all, it seems to be indestructible. After being hurled on the ground at the playground and dropped numerous times in skateboarding class, my son's Contigo is still going strong.
The best of the rest:
CamelBak insulated stainless water bottle, $30, Amazon
I've had this bottle for a few months. It's not as sturdy as the Contigo, but it comes pretty darn close.
Hydro Flask insulated steel water bottle, $45, Amazon
The wide-mouth option is great for very thirsty kiddos like mine.
Brimma fruit infuser water bottle, $18, Amazon
This bottle provides a fun way to get your kids to love fruit ... or, at the very least, to taste it while staying hydrated.
Liquid Savvy 18-ounce insulated water bottle with three lids, $17, Amazon
If your child, like mine, likes straws on Monday, but changes his mind by Friday, this water bottle is for you.