Homegrown with Hope: Tub toys and mold

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BISMARCK, N.D. - With all the chaos that surrounds bath time in my house, the last thing I want to worry about is my tub toys growing mold. But, that's easily happening for those classic squeaky toys that capture water and soap. In this Homegrown with Hope, we’ll share how to spot it, what to do about it, and how to stop it.

Mother of two, Emily Jetvig, is quite familiar with the fun but stressful chore of bath time.

"It is very stressful. He likes to spit water out of the tub. He likes to splash water out of the tub," she said with a laugh. "He loves jumping. He loves going in and out of the water and sometimes, he can fall. You have to make sure to watch him!"

While parents are navigating safety in the tub, and watching the water temperature, another threat may be lurking in the bathroom. Emily says her husband, a pharmacist, clued her onto it; mold that can sometimes grow in bath toys.

"I had to take a look at all the toys that we had and I actually got rid of a lot of them. I got some toys that didn't have water that gets trapped in them," she said.

If you find mold in tub toys, experts say it's best to throw them out. While that's not a major risk to your child's health, it's best for children not to be around any mold. You can protect some toys by washing them in a bleach/water mixture and boiling them from time to time, or plugging the holes with hot glue to keep water from seeping in. Experts also want to urge parents to take it as a visual cue to check other items around the house your child uses regularly, including sippy cups, teething toys and humidifiers for signs of mold.

Injury Prevention Program director for the Department of Health, Mandy Slag, says parents should also be aware of other dangers you might not foresee.

"You want to make sure you have all your materials: your soap, your washcloth, your towel, everything that you will need for the baby nearby. If you feel you need to answer the door if the doorbell rings, take the child with you," Slag said.

Keep your child in your sight, Slag advised, even if they're supported in a seat designed for the tub.

With that in mind, and Emily’s new set of mold-free bath tubs for her kids, she’s getting a little help staying afloat during this part of her children’s routine.