Nursery Water© is a perplexing new* product that I first saw in Washington State in late 2001. It is distributed by the Suntory Water Group© in pink-labeled bottles and is now easily found in many parts of the US, in grocery or chain stores.

Nursery Water is sold as an highly-filtered, UV-sterilized, steam-distilled water for infants. Its official homepage says it contains a "delicate balance of calcium, magnesium and potassium to provide a pleasing flavor". More importantly, Nursery Water is fortified with fluoride to give your baby strong, sharp teeth. This seems bizarre to me, as most babies don't get their first teeth until somewhere between four and sixteen months. The fluoride would only work its hardening magic (filling in tiny cracks and holes) once the teeth rip their way into visibility. The few teeth they might have while their parents are still buying fluoride-enriched water will be falling out in a decade or so, making this seem like a waste of fluoride and money.

To me, it sounds like a water-selling company making a quick buck off of over-protective parents, coupled with the needless introduction of a debatably poisonous substance into young children that would be better off with rural well water or fluoride-free bottled or tap water (at least until the adult teeth start coming in).

*Apparently the product has been around since 1948, but has only seen mass distribution recently.

Both doyle and momomom messaged me to let me know that fluoride can have a strengthing effect on developing teeth. How this compares to actual fluoridated-water-on-teeth action, as opposed to absorbed fluoride in the bloodstream I'm unsure, although apparently enough fluoride is absorbed by the body to cause skeletal fluorosis in very large doses, so it is absorbed. I stand by my position, however, that fluoridating the somewhat disposable baby teeth at the possible expense of a child's health is an odd way of doing things.

Also, I forgot to mention in my original writeup that the water contains only 60% of the recommended maximum dose of fluoride. Oddly enough, this means that in locales where tap water is highly fluoridated, giving your baby Nursery Water might actually lower his/her fluoride consumption. However, it seems that the per-pound ratio of fluoride consumption could be more than the average adult, when you consider an infant's diet consists entirely of liquids, and that Nursery Water would most commonly be used to mix the infant's formula. (momomom informs me that early infants should never drink straight water.)

Still, the point is, if in some bizarre unforseen future I'm in a situation where I'm feeding infants (being lactationally-impaired) then I'd probably buy fluoride-free bottled water.

The Official Nursery Water site
Official Suntory Water Group site
Another Suntory Water Group-affiliated site