SteriPEN Baby: Bug-Zapping Formula-Safe Water

Photo of the SteriPEN Baby inserted into an upside down baby bottle filled with water and an adapter cap attached. The pen's light is glowing

The ultraviolet baby craze marches onward. First there was the Halo UVX floor vacuum, then the Pipila UV O3 pacifier sterilizer.

Now there is the SteriPEN Baby by Hydro-Photon, Inc. It’s a hand-held battery-operated ultraviolet lamp you stick in a baby bottle filled with water… in order to purify the water.

Ultraviolet light (UVC) is known as germicidal light and has been used for decades in hospitals to sterilize air — killing bacteria, viruses and other baddies.

SteriPEN’s intended application is for parents mixing baby formula while
away from home, although it could work for water-filled sippy cups or people who don’t trust their tap water.

The procedure seems simple enough. Pop the SteriPEN cap off, turn the unit on, insert the pen into the water and wait 48 seconds.

Four included adapters (which fit 10 popular bottle brands) allow a snug fit around the mouth of the bottle, apparently tight enough that you can turn the bottle upside down. I presume this feature exists so that parents can activate the pen and go do something else for that minute.

The company has a large Frequently Asked Questions page that covers two SteriPEN products, one not aimed at parents. An exhaustively slow 7 minute tutorial for that other product, the SteriPEN Journey, can be found at Youtube.

Each light dose is good for 16 ounces (0.5L) of clear water and the UV lamp is rated for 8,000 uses. SteriPEN Baby hits the market in November at a suggested retail price of $80.

Photo of the SteriPEN Baby with its cap removed and four adapter bottle caps lined up alongside.

I can see strong appeal for a portable water purifier among parents who take their babies backpacking in the back country. You all do that, right?

But please, formula-using Thinga-readers, tell me, when you leave your home on a normal day, do you bring water with you, or do you rely on drinking fountains, garden hoses, wishing wells and/or street gutter runoff? Under what circumstances do you worry about the purity of the water you are using?


9 Responses to “SteriPEN Baby: Bug-Zapping Formula-Safe Water”

  1. Jennifer says:

    IF I forget to pack a reusable water bottle (filled with filtered tap water) in the diaper bag, and IF I don’t already have some bottled water rolling around the floor of my mini-van, I still wouldn’t think to reach for an $80 light bulb to purify questionable water.

    An experienced hiker (or other outdoorsey type) would know to take enough drinking water for 2 or 3 times the length of the trip they’re planning. And inexperienced hikers have no business taking their formula-drinking infants out of sight of the parking lot.

    September 25th, 2008 at 9:17 am

  2. Christy says:

    I see those super germaphope moms that always have antibacterial hand sanitizer hooked to their belts lining up for this one. The one who won’t let their kids touch ANYTHING. I personally believe that a little germ interaction is necessary to stay healthy. If you kill off all the little bugs you have no defense against the big ones.

    September 25th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

  3. Pippin says:

    We generally allow our baby to drink out of murky ditches and puddles in the parking lot. She seems to be doing fine with that.

    September 25th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

  4. anjii says:

    This is just one more thing that makes me grateful that I don’t have to use formula…

    September 25th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

  5. gertie says:

    Where are these parents filling up their bottles? I did half and half breast/formula with my first baby, so we mixed plenty of bottles on the road. I don’t ever remember having to deal with a dicey water source. Even if you run out of your own bottled water and the drinking fountains look suspect, bottled water is available for sale just about everywhere. I can’t see a modern American parent needing this.

    What would be AWESOME would be to see a few million of these things drop-shipped to third world countries, where children die of water-borne illnesses. If the manufacturer had some sort of charity like that attached to the product, I might just buy one.

    September 25th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

  6. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    We took our own water with us whereever we went (Still do actually, for drinking with. Not always a drinking fountain handy for filling up the cup when needed) but we still would use the water source of wherever we were in general instead of our carried water when we could.

    September 26th, 2008 at 4:52 am

  7. Erin S. says:

    This is definately overkill. If you can drink it, your baby can drink it. One other thought to consider – the incidence of allergic disease in the US is going up exponentially…one theory is the “hygiene theory”…basically the immune system gets bored since it doesn’t have anything else to do and starts attacking things it shouldn’t….just a thought…

    September 26th, 2008 at 7:09 am

  8. Allison (CodeCrafter) says:

    I’m with everyone else that this is total over kill for formula water.

    Devices like this have been around for a while and they are really handy for backpacking because water is heavy and you don’t want to be lugging enough water for your whole trip with or without a baby in tow. You could also just boil the water though.

    We didn’t go backpacking with a baby but we did go camping when my son was under 1 and we all drank the water that came out of the taps.

    September 26th, 2008 at 10:06 am

  9. Jasi says:

    I was raised in NJ. Our tap was just fine. Every few months out in PA, however, we get word from the water company, “Whoops! Micro-organisms in the water could potentially make you violently ill and harm your children, especially infants… Will let you know when it’s safe again.”

    So we’ve got Cartier, Tiffany’s and Nieman out here. But still, no reliable safe water.

    Really nuts.

    October 6th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

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