Who doesn’t love bathtime? Getting your little one in the tub and watching them play, splash and smile is not only a great way to unwind, it’s also a perfect time to bond with your baby. The problem is, you and your child aren’t the only ones having a blast in the tub — because those bath toys you’re playing with can be a breeding ground for mold. And though that might sound a little distasteful — if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous, too. So to keep you and your little one safe while splashing around, here’s everything you need to know about mold and your baby’s bath toys. 

Sources of Mold in Your Baby’s Bath Toys

There’s nothing that mold, fungi and bacteria love more than moist, dark, undisturbed areas. Now think about the inside of those rubber duckies your baby loves playing with — you guessed it: moist, dark and undisturbed. And mold colonies are incredibly resilient, needing only moisture and a source of carbon (soap is an excellent carbon source, by the way) to start developing rapidly. And since there are naturally occurring microorganisms swimming in our tap water and personal care products, plus plenty of small nooks and crannies to hide in — you can think of the bath as a giant petri dish. 

The Potential Dangers of Mold

Before you grab the clorox and pressure wash your entire bathroom, it’s important to know that mold is all around us at all times, and that swallowing small amounts of mold is not likely to affect your baby adversely. When your child is repeatedly exposed to larger amounts of mold, that is when problems can begin to arise. Exposure to some types of mold can cause headaches, coughing, vomiting or nausea. If your child has a specific mold allergy or has a compromised immune system however, you need to take this exposure more seriously. If your child has either of these conditions, and you think they have been exposed for an extended period of time, be sure to contact your pediatrician. 

How to Clean Baby Bath Toys

For starters, if you happen to see a black or dark green buildup on the inside of your baby’s bath toys, throw them away immediately. But for your as-yet-uncontaminated toys, cleaning regularly with a bleach or vinegar solution is a simple way to prevent mold from building up. 

  • Using bleach: mix ¾ cup bleach with a gallon of warm water, soak the toy overnight and let air-dry completely, before using. 
  • Using vinegar: mix ½ cup white vinegar with a gallon of warm water, soak the toys for an hour, scrub the toys and let them air-dry. 

A Parenting Hack for Preventing Mold

If you prefer to be a bit industrious, you can try this easy, DIY mold-prevention hack. Using a hot glue gun, or a waterproof patch & seal adhesive, seal any holes you see in your baby’s bath toys. After waiting for the glue to dry completely, and making sure no water is able to enter into the toy, you’re good to go!

Tips for Buying New Bath Toys

Although we all love those old-school rubber duckies — it may be time for something new. Be on the lookout for bath toys without holes or crevices, either made from solid plastic, or with a mesh-like structure. Remember to store these toys outside of the tub so that they can dry completely before your next use.  

At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, your children’s health and well-being is our top priority. Our warm staff and qualified care providers are ready and waiting to answer all your pediatric questions, to keep your little ones as safe and happy as possible, both in and out of the tub.