Expert Insights for Safe, Mold-Free Bath Time Fun: Your Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Bath Toys
Design & Play Family Blog

Expert Insights for Safe, Mold-Free Bath Time Fun: Your Ultimate Guide to Non-Toxic Bath Toys

Bathtime - that special moment of the day when we splash around with our little ones, creating unforgettable memories. We all cherish seeing our kiddos having a blast with their bath toys. But did you know those innocent-looking plastic bath toys might harbor a not-so-pleasant surprise? Yep, mold is just the beginning. There is MORE... In this guide, we'll delve into everything you need to know about bath toy safety, the reasons behind why we should care, the seriousness of the issue, alternative bath toys, and follow up with tips to make bath time enjoyable for both you and your little one!

Why Should You Ditch Plastic Bath Toys for Safer Alternatives?

Let's be real, it's hard to resist those dozen cute animal squirting bath toys for $12.99, which immediately get us thinking about how our little one is gonna learn all their names by the time they start talking.

But here's the scoop: the mold problem. 

Plastic bath toys, while fun, can be risky. Mold growth, fueled by humidity and bath products, is a common issue. Bath toys often suffer from poor airflow, particularly those that squirt water, like the iconic rubber duck. While the exterior may dry, the interior remains damp, creating the perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive.And listen to this:

In a study backed by the Swiss National Science Foundation in 2018, researchers discovered fungal species in nearly 60% of actual bath toys and in every dirty-water control toy. Furthermore, potentially harmful bacteria were found in 80% of all toys examined, including Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the rod-shaped bacterium frequently associated with hospital-acquired infections.

It happened to us - We squeeze our bath toy, and black mildew comes flying out. Gross! Even if we clean and bleach those toys often, it's hard to escape the moldy reality.

Plus The Sidekick: Microplastic Problem

Unfortunately, mold is not the only problem! Just as your little one begins to thoroughly enjoy bath time, usually around 6-8 months when they can sit up independently, they also reach the stage where they explore by putting everything in their mouth. Yep, that includes those adorable plastic toys.

Chewing on plastic toys can release harmful chemicals into your little one's bodies. The study conducted by researchers from Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Lettersfound that some 1-year-olds possess, more than 20 times polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in their bodies than those found in adults. 

The soft and pliable nature of plastic toys makes them particularly susceptible to being bitten or chewed by curious little ones, increasing the likelihood of exposure to these harmful substances.

“Those are a really big deal because they are often endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which means that they affect development and reproduction," states Anna Lewis, a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering at Duke University."

- Quote from Verywell Family

What Are The Safer & Non-Toxic Bath Toys Alternatives?

When seeking safer and non-toxic substitutes for traditional plastic bath toys, natural rubber and food-grade silicone stand out as top contenders.

Natural Rubber

Natural rubber bath toys offer a compelling choice. Derived from latex harvested from rubber trees, natural rubber eliminates the risk of harmful chemicals. Additionally, it boasts durability. However, there are some drawbacks to consider. Firstly, they may not be suitable for babies with latex allergies. Secondly, natural rubber toys typically require hand washing due to their low tolerance for heat.

Lastly PLEAE NOTE, if a toy has holes but cannot be opened for thorough cleaning and drying, it remains susceptible to mold growth.

Food-Grade Silicone

Conversely, food-grade silicone emerges as a superior alternative, providing dishwasher-safe convenience and effortless cleaning. Versatile options like b is for ball™ offer superior squirting, splashing, and scooping fun all in one. With its clever 2-part design, cleaning is a breeze. Simply open it up and place it upside down in the dishwasher to keep mold at bay. Besides its bath time benefits, b is for ball™ can also serve as an outdoor water toy, offering versatility and entertainment beyond the bathroom.

How to Maintain a Mold-Free Environment?

In addition to selecting mold free bath toys, it's important to keep those bath toys squeaky clean to stave off bacteria and mold proliferation in the bathroom:

  1. Tip # 1: Regular Cleaning

    Shobha Bhaskar, MD, a pediatric hospitalist with St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, suggest that parents should clean bath toys regularly to prevent mold from growing on or inside them.

    "Ideally, if you see mold in a bath toy, it should be thrown away. If it is a special toy that you want to keep, then it can be cleaned by putting the toy in a mixture of ¾ of a cup of bleach and one gallon of water. You’ll want to soak the toy overnight and then remove it from the solution and let it air dry completely. If you do not see or smell any mold on the toy, it is safe to go back in the bath, but monitor carefully for any mold regrowth." - Shobha Bhaskar, MD

  2. Tip #2: Proper Storage

    Safeguard your bathtime toys and store them in a parched and well-ventilated location to preempt moisture accumulation. Shun leaving toys in the bathtub or shower where they continue to accumulate water.

  3. Tip #3: Replace When Needed

    Keep a vigilant eye on your child or baby's bath toys and supplant them upon discerning signs of mold or deterioration. Opt for toys engineered to be mold-resistant, capable of withstanding moisture and frequent usage.

Additional Recommendations for Safer Bath Time Fun

In addition to selecting mold free bath time toys and maintaining a warm and hygienic environment for your baby or kids' baths, there are several other ways to enrich your child or baby's bath time experience

  1. Sensory Play:

    Stimulate sensory exploration by introducing various textures and materials during bath time. Consider incorporating bath bombs, foam letters, or textured washcloths to engage your child's senses. With its thoughtfully designed sensory patterns on each ball, the b is for ball™ - 3-ball set offers a dynamic sensorial experience for your little one.

  2. Incorporate Educational Activities:

    Use bath time as an opportunity to introduce educational concepts to your child. Teach counting, letter recognition, and color identification using bath toys and accessories. For instance, you can fill one b is for ball™ with water and leave another one empty, allowing your child to observe the concepts of "sinking" and "floating."

  3. Interactive Activities Between You and Your Little Ones:

    Foster bonding and laughter during bath time through interactive games like "peek-a-boo" or "squirt contest." Remember, your interaction with them is fundamental to their social and emotional well-being.

Phew, what a ride! Thanks for sticking with us! So, here's the deal: moldy plastic bath toys? NAH! By switching to safer and easy-breezy cleanup options like food-grade silicone, you'll keep bath time both fun for your kiddos and worry-free for you. Oh, and don't forget to keep those toys clean and stored properly to avoid any moldy surprises. With a little TLC and some awesome bath toys, you'll be giving your little one hours of safe and super fun playtime.