So Long Rubber Duck–Why You Should Toss Your Kids Bath Toys

posted: 04/03/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Boy with rubber duck in tub


Bath time is always more fun when your kids have a few toys in the tub. But while your kids are splishing and splashing around in the bubbles, that little rubber duck that has seen quite a few baths could be swimming with bacteria that can make your kids sick.

According to a new study conducted by Swiss and American researchers, four out of the five bath toys studied were found to have microbes that are swimming in the dark and murky water inside the toys and contained "potentially pathogenic bacteria." Pauses while every parent runs to the bathroom to chuck every single rubber ducky into the trash.

Researchers found that your kid's favorite bath toys become breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus that is "not detectable in the bath water itself." Since most bath toys are made from materials like silicone or rubber, the bacteria can feed on the carbon that leeches onto those toys. Basically bath toys floating in soapy water and the dirt from our bodies equals the perfect place for lots of bacteria to grow.

So how bad is the bacteria? Researchers found Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that is "often implicated in hospital-acquired infections." While parents have long suspected that the murky water that can hide in the toys is not safe, this study finally confirms what parents feared--the toys have to go.

Researchers noted that while some bacteria is good for kids, the kind growing inside their bath toys is not. So the next time your little one squirts you in the face with their bath toy, you have every right to be grossed out.

This doesn't mean that bath time fun has to end--you'll just need to take care of the toys differently. From looking for toys that don't have holes that can hold water to soaking the toys in a bleach bath and allowing them to air dry before using, you can make sure your kid's next round of rubber duckies are ready for some good, clean fun.