Lippy the Lion FAQ 

Lippy is a goodwill ambassador for all children and their families who deal with cleft. He travels the world, spreading cheer and sharing information about clefting. Following are some common questions about Lippy. If you don’t see your question here, write to us at 

How can I get Lippy to come visit my child?

If you want a visit from Lippy, click on the “request” button and send your request to us. You will be added to the list and before you know it, you will be hosting Lippy for a two-week stay.  

How is Lippy shipped from place to place?

We prefer that Lippy travel via UPS. This is to ensure that we can keep track of him by way of his tracking number. If he cannot go by UPS or FED EX, etc. then send him by postal service, but please, send him by registered mail. We don’t want to lose him, and these shipping methods will safeguard against that happening.

What should I do if Lippy gets dirty while in my care? What are the washing instructions?

Please wash Lippy very gently with a wet rag. Don’t put him in your washing machine. It is ok to wash his “peek-a-booty” hospital gown in the washer. Arm restraints can be washed, but please, let them air dry. If Lippy gets too messy, please let us know and we will arrange for you to ship him back home for a decent bath.

Who pays for the Shipping Charges?

We are asking parents who request Lippy to commit to shipping him to his next destination. In most cases, that will be under $10. If Lippy is to go overseas, however, the cost will be somewhat higher. If you see that you are immediately before an overseas family on Lippy’s itinerary, you can request that you be placed behind that family. Please always ship Lippy via UPS so that we have a tracking number to keep up with him. If you cannot ship by UPS, please send him by registered mail through the postal service. Please do NOT ship him by boat overseas. That can cause a very long, unnecessary delay in his travels.

I want Lippy for a special event. Can I ask that he be here on a certain date?

Obviously, we may not be able to accommodate everybody’s “special dates.” However, we will try to comply where we can. We encourage you NOT to ask for Lippy for a birthday celebration, because it might be difficult for your child to let him go when the time comes. If you have a cleft conference to go to, etc, and want to show Lippy to the people you meet there, we will do our best to accommodate.

How old should my child be to get a visit from Lippy?

Lippy is designed to appeal to children ages 2 – 12. You are the best judge of your child. Some children older than 12 may want a visit from Lippy. Some children younger than two would be thrilled with a visit. We don’t have hard and fast limits on the child’s age. We do have one rule, however. We do not want to send Lippy to a baby younger than six weeks. This is because Lippy is shared by many people and we do not want to expose a newborn to any germs unnecessarily before s/he develops a strong immunity.

Speaking of “sharing,” what about the possibility of head lice?

Though it may not seem so, Lippy is actually not a living being. Therefore, if he picks up lice from one child, they are not likely to live through the shipping process to the next child. However, if you are concerned, you can put Lippy into a large plastic bag and put him in your freezer overnight. That take care of any lice worries you may have. 

Can I choose the next family that will get Lippy?

No. You can make a suggestion to us, but in most cases, we will ask you to simply keep Lippy to his itinerary. The next kids in line will be anxiously awaiting their visit. 

I don’t have a scanner. How can I share pictures of our visit with Lippy?

Get double prints made of the pictures you take. Choose a few pictures to put into the photo album. Then mail the duplicates of those pictures to Wide Smiles, PO Box 5153, Stockton, CA, 95205-0153. We will scan them, put them on the website, and return them to you.

What do I do if there are problems while Lippy is visiting my child?

If you have any problems (Lippy is lost on a school bus – Lippy falls into the raspberry punch – Lippy gets into a losing battle with the family dog, etc.) please contact us IMMEDIATELY by sending an email to

How many pictures can I put in the photo album?

We ask that you take ONE PAGE in the album. This means only one side of two facing pages. On that page, please, somewhere, put the name of your child, the name and state/province/country where you live and the month and year. Depending on the size and how you trim them, you can fit up to maybe five pictures on that page. Please remember that pictures are more interesting if they have captions!

What do you want in the journal?

Be creative. Tell about your Lippy visit, including anything special that you Lippy did together. You don’t have to give us a minute-by-minute. You be the judge.

Back to Lippy's home page

Back to Wide Smiles

Copyright © 2002 Wide Smiles. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 06, 2002 .