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Dr. Watkins Comments on Water for Baby

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choosing-water-for-babies Safe Water

There are so many choices: distilled water, spring water, deionized water, filtered water, boiled water, Italian water, French water, Arkansas water, fluoridated water, tap water and even 'baby water'. What do choose for your children? What is safe, what is optimal?


The easy answer to this question is tap water and also, in most cases, probably the best answer. The water system in Dallas and the Dallas area is very safe and has an excellent record for reliability. Buying bottled water has not been shown to be safer by any research, though there are arguments in its favor.


Except for a sterilized water fresh from a just-opened container, water will always contain a few germs. This is true of bottled waters we consume as well as tap water. This is not all bad, as we need to be exposed to bacteria on a frequent basis to challenge and strengthen our immune system. It is important, though, that water have relatively few bacteria and that none of them be really bad ones. Community water supply systems are routinely checked for bacteria and small numbers are safe. We are protected, in part, by our high use of water so that new fresh water is constantly flowing into our distribution systems, diluting bacteria that sneak in at weak points of the system such as aging pipelines or pump stations.


What about minerals? Water hardness or softness is determined by its mineral content and, with the exception of distilled water, all the popular bottled waters contain minerals. In fact, municipal water supplies are supplemented with very tiny amounts of the mineral fluoride because it strengthen teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. Dallas city water naturally has fluoride, though heavy rainfall can dilute it from lake water supplies and then the amount is adjusted as the water is treated. It is worth knowing that lead soldered copper pipes can put lead into household water systems, but lead soldered pipes are very rare in the Dallas area and do not comply with building codes. Minerals are not really a problem in our area.


Toxins? Again, best information is that this is not a problem in our area unless there are leaks of ground water into a private system. If you think this could be a problem in your house or neighborhood, call for an inspection.


I think it's a good idea to also consider the environmental impact of using bottled water. The bottles themselves and the transportation of the water (which is often from some other municipal supply, filtered and bottled) requires a significant expenditure of our resources for very little if any benefit.


Bottom line? I'd say tap water is great even for the newborn and if you'd like to go it one better, use a filter.