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Are Microwave Baby Bottle Sterilizers Safe and Effective

baby bottle sterilizers safe or unsafeDuring the first year of life, babies are most at risk for contracting viruses and infections. The Baby Center network recommends sterilizing bottles if they are being used to feed infants. If safety instructions are followed, microwave sterilizers are a quick, safe and effective method of sterilizing baby bottles.

Baby Bottles Should be BPA Free

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed it’s original viewpoint on plastics containing Bisphenol A (BPA). The FDA is now taking measures to reduce how much BPA a person is exposed to. In studies, BPA was found to have effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands of fetuses and in younger children.

When plastic containers containing BPA are heated, the compound can leach into the formula and be ingested. Glass bottles are best as they contain no BPA. Plastic bottles that say BPA-Free are safer choices. Also, plastic bottles that are hard, clear and inflexible often contain BPA and should be avoided.

Microwave Sterilizers Use Extreme High Heat

Microwave sterilizers use very high heat to sterilize a bottle. The process takes five to eight minutes and will require a cool down period. Severe burns can occur if the lid is taken off too quickly and steam is allowed to escape quickly. Allowing the sterilizer to cool down and opening the lid carefully will minimize risk of burns. Holding the sterilizer evenly when removing from the microwave will ensure no boiling water escapes from the unit and will also minimize risk of burns.

Microwave Sterilizers Can Pose Fire Hazards

Water must be placed in the bottom of the microwave sterilizer. If water is not put in the unit or not enough water is put in, the sterilizer may melt or start a fire. Following manufacturer guidelines will help minimize risk of melting or fire.

Remove Foreign Objects from Microwave Before Sterilizing

All foreign objects must be removed prior to using a microwave sterilizer. Some objects, like metal, will have a reaction to the microwaves. Metal objects in microwaves will cause intense heating and sparks that can melt the sterilizer or even start a fire. Any item going in a microwave needs to be marked “microwave-safe”.

Must Have Access to Microwave to Use Sterilizer

Microwave sterilizers are growing in popularity as a quick way to sterilizer baby bottles. While they may be a convenient method of sterilizing bottles, microwave sterilizers may not be an option if traveling to an area that does not have microwaves available. It’s also important to note that microwave temperatures and times vary in different countries and timing guidelines may change.

Specific Baby Bottle Sizes for Microwave Sterilizers

Manufacturers include a safety sheet and detailed instructions with their microwave sterilizers. They remind consumers that the sterilizer is designed for a specific size of bottle and that the unit should not be overloaded. When using a microwave sterilizer, it should be able to seal properly in order for it to work as intended.


U.S Food and Drug Administration. "Bisphenol A (BPA)" (accessed September 29, 2010)

Environmental Working Group. "EWG’s Guide to Infant Formula and Baby Bottles: Safe Baby Bottle and Formula Guide"(accessed September 29, 2010)

Baby Center. "Sterlizing bottle–feeding equipment"(accessed September 29, 2010)

How Everything Works. "Microwave Ovens Home Page"(accessed September 29, 2010)

Philips Avent. "Express II Microwave Steam Sterilizer"(accessed September 29, 2010)

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