Are tub toys making your child sick? + 8 safer tub toy options

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We’d like to think our little ones are squeaky clean after a nice, warm bath. But are they? Or could their tub toys be making them sick?

Dr. Philip Tierno, a microbiologist from New York University did a segment on the Today Show last year. He analyzed tub toys and found some pretty disgusting results.

It turns out, tub toys contain fecal matter, mold, and other harmful bacteria.

Think about it. Babies have been sitting in a diaper all day, so you put their little germy bums in a warm, moist environment. All the bacteria and germs from their bottoms now goes into the water and transfers onto the surface of toys and the tub.

When kids put these toys in their mouths, they can get sick.

The worst toy offenders? Squeaky toys or toys that squirt water. There’s no way to get these toys completely clean and dry, so mold and bacteria can easily grow/multiply.

Germs aren’t the only concern

In addition to the cesspool of germs in your tub, you should also be concerned about the materials your tub toys are made from.

Many tub toys are made with harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as BPA (Bisphenol a) and phthalates.

BPA is associated with the following problems:

– Breast cancer
– Obesity
– Early onset puberty
– Fertility issues
– Anxiety
– Heart Disease

Phthalates are associated with:

– Asthma
– Autism spectrum disorders
– Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
– Behavioral issues
– Low IQ
– Cancers
– And more

When you choose tub toys, be sure to choose items that are made from natural materials and labeled free from BPA and phthalates.

Are tub toys making your child sick plus 8 safer tub toy options


How to clean your tub toys

Here are a few simple steps to keeping your child healthier during bath time

  • Dry your tub toys well after use.

Allow toys to air dry in a room separate from the bathroom. Flushing toilets can cause a plume of bacteria from fecal matter to land on bathroom services.

(This is why you should NEVER leave toothbrushes out. You should also close your toilet lid before flushing.)

  • Sanitize your tub toys weekly.

Run tub toys through the dishwasher or allow them to soak in a cleaning solution at least once a week.

  • Replace tub toys often.

I know it can get expensive. But if you have a tub toy that’s been around for a while, it may be best to toss it. ESPECIALLY if you have any tub toys with squirt holes or nooks and crannies, toss them immediately.

  • Do not allow toy mouthing.

For the love of all things holy, please do not let your child drink the bath water or put tub toys in their mouths. Gross!

  • Purchase tub toys that are free of phthalates and BPA.

BPA and phthalates are all too common in tub toys. Phthalates have been linked to asthma and other neurological issues, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and behavioral issues.

  • Purchase toys that nonporous.

As mentioned earlier, toys that are porous or have small holes, are some of the most dangerous when it comes to mold and bacteria. If you have squeaky or water-shooting toys, or toys that are porous, toss them now and buy safer alternatives.

Here are some of my favorite tub toys

The toys on this list are free of BPA and phthalates. They are also nonporous.

1. Stack N’ Splash Stacking Cups (Sharks)



 2. Green Sprouts Floating Boats


3. Nalu the Seahorse




4.  La the Butterfly Fish



5. Kala the Whale




6. Mele the Sea Turtle




7. Green Sprouts Stacking Cups


8. The Good Duck


Do you have a favorite non-toxic tub toy? I’m always on the lookout for new ones!

Are tub toys making your child sick

Related reading: Is Your Baby Shampoo Dangerous?

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