Black, grimy water shooting out of their twin daughters' bath toys gave an Ohio couple a nasty surprise recently. Initially they wondered what the cause could be but it soon dawned on them that the culprit had to be black mold.
Ryan and Katie Scott described how black mold turned a regular bathtime for their 2-year-old twins, Sammy and Lizzy, into a potential health hazard to the entire family in an interview with local TV news (WLWT5).
"They squirt them [the toys] all over and sometimes in their mouths and all of a sudden this black stuff is squirting out and we were like, 'What can that be?'" said Katie.
The shocked parents said they soon realized it was moldy water coming out of their daughters' bath toys. The couple, now well aware of the potential for mold growth, are now much more careful about what they buy for their daughters. "If a bath toy has a hole in it that squirts water, it stays on the store shelf", they said, sensibly.
Children's Hospital physician Dr. Nicholas Newman said that if a bath toy, sippy cup or teething ring stays wet on the inside, there is always a risk of it growing mold and that ingestion of mold poses numerous health risks, many quite serious.
"In general, you just want to avoid [your kids] eating it, just as you would throw a moldy piece of bread out or something in the fridge growing mold on it," said Newman.
Illnesses associated with mold range from a simple upset stomach, to much more serious and complex conditions, especially if a child has a mold allergy.
Research demonstrates that mold is both toxic and allergenic. It is associated with allergies and chronic immune disorders, as well as neurological and psychological conditions. Clearly not something to be taken lightly then.
For bathtime Dr. Newman suggests using things like plastic buckets, cups or toys with no openings and making sure toys are thoroughly washed and then allowed to dry completely between each use. When washing your children's bath toys you might also wish to use a specialist cleaning product such as EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate, scientifically-proven to kill any mold present using only natural ingredients.
The Scott family threw away all toys that they suspected had mold or could become moldy in the future. And since sippy cups can be a problem, Katie Scott buys sippy cups with transparent straws or cups that come apart. She also washes all parts and pieces in the dishwasher.