Bath toys are often the best way to coax kids into the tub, but there may be a hidden danger to these adorable things. When you learn how gross your bath toys are and how dangerous they can be, thanks to mold, all those cute plastic characters will suddenly appear suspicious. Basically, you'll never be able to look at a rubber ducky the same way again.
As YouTube videos demonstrate, many kid's bath toys can retain water and if not dried out properly between each use, eventually squirt out mold. The result is exactly as gross as it sounds. In a brief but striking video from YouTube user Jack Toepfer titled "Throw out your bath toys!", a cute little pirate figure is emptied out over the sink. Loads of black material, aka mold, spews from the toy's squirt mouth in a nauseating display. As the video's caption explains, the toy had already been squirted out after the child's bath. Even once it was emptied out, the toy still acted as a haven for mold growth. Considering bath time is supposed to be all about getting clean, it's extra disgusting.
Mold growing in toys is unfortunately nothing new. Perhaps most famously, some parents discovered mold growing in popular Sophie the Giraffe teething toys, as explained in Good Housekeeping. Since then, countless videos cropped up of parents cutting open the giraffes to reveal innards full of mold. Caretakers were understandably freaked and concerned about mold in other kid's toys as well, and course bath toys were soon under scrutiny.
In a way, the squirt toys are even more concerning than the teething toys, because they can potentially expose children to mold in the course of normal play. Whereas other toys need to be cut open in order to show the mold inside, the squeeze toys could squirt mold right into your kid's bathwater. After all, squirting water is literally why they exist, and why they're so fun. But to all parents, the idea of mold mingling in your kids bath is scary stuff.
What is so terrible about mold around your kid, anyway? For the most part, it isn't likely to cause any major health problems, despite the serious yuck factor associated with the stuff. In fact, even if your kid takes a swig of moldy water, the "likelihood of a child getting sick from this is close to zero," said Dr. Lyuba Konopasek in Care. I mean, it's still totally gross, just unlikely to require a trip to the emergency room. However, some individuals are sensitive to molds, and there may be a link between mold exposure and the development of asthma, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Gnawing on a moldy toy may not cause your kid serious damage right away, but it's still a potentially irritating substance that's best kept out of the toy bin.
Does this mean you'll have to throw your baby's toys out with the bathwater? Not necessarily. If you have some new toys on hand, then learning how to keep bath toys from molding is a good first step. In fact, it may be as simple as plugging any bath toy holes with hot glue. If water can't get in, then it can't sit inside the bath toy brewing mold. Storing them out of the bathroom in a well-ventilated area also decreases the likelihood of mold. If your kid already has a favorite batch of well-loved bath toys, then they might just need a simple cleaning. Knowing how to clean bath toys is a cinch, although it could involve running the toys through the dishwasher to disinfect them.
When you're ready for new bath toys, look for ones without holes that are less likely to retain water, or are designed to be cleaned and dried easily. With a little time and effort, your kid's bath time toys can stay clean and mold-free.
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