Personality Captured: Picking the Perfect Lunchbox for Your Kid
Selecting a lunchbox is part of the psychology of getting ready for a new school year. A kid's taste in lunchboxes changes just like their sense of style in clothing. My daughter has gone from her penchant for all things flowery to minimalist preppy and monogrammed to purple leopard pattern to her current obsession with anything OWL! The one thing that these lunchboxes always had in common was the absence of vinyl.
For a quick refresher: PVC is toxic because it contains phthalates and lead. And vinyl (polyvinyl chloride-PVC), often including lead as a stabilizer, can wipe off into foods and onto children's hands. And then, the unfortunate possibility of traveling on to mouths and ingested. Lead at any level is unsafe, especially for kids.
So, to be risk-free of any toxins touching the foods you've packed for your child's lunch, the following lunchboxes are all great contenders:
Beatrix New York Lunchboxes: Made with heavy-duty nylon for safety and durability, and fun designs for personality, these insulated lunchboxes are a terrific choice. They're light (great for the younger crowd!) and roomy and are designed with a back zipper and name tag for convenience. Tested PVC-free, phthalate-free and lead-free. Easy to clean and machine washable. In addition to Nigel the Shark, see here for all of the Beatrix lunchbox designs.
Packit Insulated Lunchbag: Made with sewn-in and non-toxic eco gel freezable liners, there's no need to add an ice pack in this lunchbox! A good choice for the older crowd of kids, the insulated Packit lunchbag will keep packed foods fresh and cool for up to 10 hours (comes in handy for after-school snacks). We recommend using stainless steel containers in this lunchbox as the inside does sweat minimally and cloth sandwich bags can get a little moist. Packits also come in a mini size for younger kids. See here for all of the mini Packit designs. Both store easily (folded flat) in the freezer and need to be handwashed.
Milkdot Stoh Lunch Tote: The modern stoh lunch tote is easy to carry like a well-designed handbag (even has a hidden magnetic closure for handle). Along with a sweat-free ice pack, this lunch tote will keep foods insulated for up to 6 hours. Tested to be lead safe and PVC-free and phthalate-free. The 2 mesh pockets on the inside help to organize packing and a picture frame name tag holds an ID or photo. We love the sleek and simple design and would happily sport this to work as well. Choose from 4 bold colors and hand washing is recommended.
Recycled Lunch Tote: Made from recycled plastic bottles (PET), this light and foldable lunch tote really comes in handy for both school lunches and for the occasional outing where bringing a bag of snacks saves the day. The simple design (comes in grey, blue and orange) is also easy to use because it has both a velcro tab and a button closure. For another lunch sack made from recycled plastic bottles, Kids Konserve makes this durable and well-designed insulated lunch sack. The strap of this lunch sack can be worn over the shoulder and the bag itself is deep enough to store a water bottle upright. Both of these sacks are PVC, phthalate and lead-free and should be hand washed. Packing with a sweat-free ice pack is advised for optimal insulation.
Crocodile Creek Lunch Box: Made of quality materials and extra padding to secure the insides from being squished. There's a separate zippered compartment on the front for saving special notes? All of Crocodile Creek's lunchboxes are PVC-free, Phthalate-free and lead-free. See here for all of Crocodile Creek's designs.