When it comes to getting through the 4-8pm nightly routine, let’s be honest, mama needs all the help she can get. That’s why so many of us rely on tub toys—to make pre-bed bath time just a little easier.
But one mom is warning parents this week about the hidden—and in her case, invisible—dangers that are lurking in those tub toys, after son contracted a nightmarish infection.
Eden Strong says she has always been aware that tub toys—particularly the ones that squirt water—are breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.
“I’ve seen the posts where mom’s have cut them open and discovered a ridiculous amount of mold inside. I knew,” she wrote in a now-viral Facebook post. “So I squeezed them out after each bath, cleaned them out every few weeks with a bleach water solution, and regularly held them up to the light to look for mold.”
But what Eden didn’t know is that even after cleaning them with bleach, the insides of these notorious tub toys never fully dry, meaning that bacteria can still grow—“invisible bacteria.”
“Baylor squirted himself in the eye with a tub toy,” the nanny explained. Eden says she initially dismissed it as nothing more than being a little irritated from the water. Later at dinner, she noticed his eye was even more red and irritated than before. Her husband took Baylor to urgent care, where he was given the standard prescription drops for pink eye. They gave him the first round of drops and called it a night.
When Eden went in to check on her son in the middle of the night, she found him looking even worse than before.
“I wasn’t expecting to find him in his crib with an eye twice the size as it was when he went to bed, with redness spreading down his cheek,” she wrote.
So I learned a thing. And I’ve sat on it for a couple months because the pictures are so gross that I…
“A bit of an internet medical guru, I immediately wondered if he might be developing cellulitis, and so off to the ER we went. There, another doctor once again agreed with my diagnosis and wrote him a prescription for oral antibiotics, which we filled and gave him at 2:30 a.m.”
Confident that things would be better when they woke up, Eden finally went to sleep. But the next morning, things had only gotten worse.
“When he woke up at 6 a.m. and I laid eyes on him in his crib, I screamed to my husband to get in the car,” she says. “His eye was so swollen that the white part was bulging out from between his eyelid and his iris was being obscured. He felt hot to the touch and a temperature check showed that he had a raging fever.”
As soon as they arrived at the ER, doctors began an IV antibiotic to reduce the swelling, and a CT scan was administered to check for damage to his retina.
In a matter of hours, Baylor had contracted severe cellulitis that eventually spread down his cheeks and to both eyes. Doctors warned Eden that her son may lose his vision in the more severe eye, but by the grace of God, they both healed with no long-term damage.
Following their terrifying week-long ordeal, Eden has just one message for parents:
“Tub toys? THROW THEM OUT.”
“You cannot clean them, you just can’t. I don’t have any moldy tub toy pictures to show here, because there was never any visible mold to take a picture of. You can’t see bacteria and I’ve known that since 6th grade science class but I thought I was better than dirty tub toys. I was wrong. So those tub toys? Just throw them out.”
Since first sharing the experience earlier this week, Eden’s post has been shared over 187,000 times.
“I am SHOCKED at how many people have reached out to share their stories of tub toy infections,” she says. “Shocked, grossed out, and now, aware.”
Eden says she’s thankful and proud of the ways the internet has banded together to ensure that no other child has to suffer anything like Baylor did.