According to a US News and World Report approximately 43,000 children are injured in bathtub accidents each year. Some children are burnt by hot water, some by slipping and falling and others by razors left out. But did you know that there are several not to obvious dangers to your children in the bathtub.
Rubber Ducky you’re the one: Toys, bacteria and chemicals
Children love to play in the water, from an infant’s first bath to my preschooler swimming like a mermaid. The bathtub becomes a magical place where mermaids and pirates exist and children float, swim and search for buried treasure. Sometimes they enjoy the aquarium action of their various bathtub toys, after all who could forget their first “rubber ducky?”
Unfortunately there are far too many “sharks” in the water during bathtub time making the pretend play time a pretty scary place.
Many parents are more aware of checking the water temperature, never leaving a child alone in the tub and removing razors from a busy bathroom. But they may not be aware of dangerous water toys, containing chemicals like phthalates, BPA or harboring mold, mildew and other bacteria. Phthalates are used to plasticize toys and Bisphenol-A, another hormone-disrupting chemical, is also found in plastic toys. These chemicals can be transferred through your child’s mouth and hands as they squeeze, play and possibly even put toys in their mouths.
Unfortunately the most popular toys are also the most dangerous in some cases. Rubber ducky you’re the one, who makes bath time so much fun, but toys like your child’s rubber duck Munchkin Sea Squirts and Infantino Bathtime Sets are really cut, but also home to a variety of dangers. To avoid the most dangerous toys, avoid those that have “holes” in the bottom. Yes, that means all those cute adorable squeeze toys your children love to squirt and splash with. Many of them contain chlorine, indicating the likely use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) another harmful chemical that can be transferred via hands and mouth. Unfortunately these toys, even after a good squeeze still contain water which sits inside the toy turning into moldy, black “gunk.”
Before you singing in the shower to the Little Tikes Bathtub Foam Letters you may want to sing a different tune since these bathtub toys have been found to contain small amounts of mercury as well as hold mold and bacteria inside the toys that can leech through to little hands and mouths.
Kids take baths to get rid of dirt and germs. Where else would they go but into the water and onto the toys they play with. Toys with holes in the bottom of them allow the dirty water to get inside there and it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew. Open one up sometime and see the black “gunk” that is inside and that leaks out when they are squeezed, gunk that ends up on your children’s skin and if they are blowing water bubbles inside their body. These bacteria can cause skin and stomach infections, vomiting and diarrhea.
When you walk into the bathroom the next time, consider these dangers and use these tips to avoid them.
Inspect your toys carefully, if you can see the “black” in the bottom of their favorite rubber ducky or other bathtub toys. If you can see it, it can leak into the water as your child’s toy sucks water up into the toy and then squirts it back out.
Avoid dangerous bacteria by cleaning toys regularly with a vinegar and water solution.
Read labels and reviews to avoid products containing harmful chemicals like mercury, chlorine and BPA.
Dry toys completely and store them in a dry place.
Unfortunately, my children lost one of their favorite bathtub toys this week, the Fisher Price Suds and Surprise Dora the Explorer after the toy “voided” black slimy gunk in the bathtub. I never saw the “ooze” until the toys went into the tub. As soon as I did the girls came out and so did the toy. Even after several tries to clean and disinfect, we continued to have harmful bacteria released in our bath time water.
With these few helpful hints your child can keep splishing and a splashing the night away, and be healthy while doing it.
For more tips and hints on bathtub safety tips read How to Prevent Bathtub Accidents and Tips for Childproofing Your Bathroom .
Toy Safety.org – Worst Toy List
Soft Landing BPA, PVC and Phthalate Toy Guide