“So, I learned a thing. I’ve sat on it for a couple of months because the pictures are so gross that I wasn’t sure anyone would want to see this. After having time to mull it over, I’ve come to the conclusion that I wish I had known and other people should know too. However, as I said, it’s unsettling, so consider yourself warned.
I knew water could get trapped in tub toys, particularly the rubber ones designed to squirt water. I’ve seen the posts where moms have cut them open and discovered a ridiculous amount of mold inside. I knew. 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.
However, I didn’t know that even with regular bleach cleaning, the fact that they never fully dry on the inside means bacteria can still grow. Invisible bacteria.
‘Baylor squirted himself in the eye with a tub toy,’ our nanny told me one day as I passed them coming out of the bathroom and noticed his eye was a little bit red. I figured it was just irritated from the water or the pressure of the water, so I didn’t think much of it. But when I put him in his high chair that night for dinner and noticed his eye looked even redder than it had earlier, I had my husband run him over to urgent care, assuming he had pink eye.
The doctor agreed and I patted myself on the back a bit for being so attentive. He got his first dose of eye drops and because I was already priding myself on being attentive, I decided to give him a booster dose in the middle of the night just to assure he would be feeling better by morning.
I wasn’t expecting to find him in his crib with an eye twice the size as it was when he went to bed. The redness was spreading down his cheek.
Being the internet medical guru I am, I immediately wondered if he might be developing cellulitis, so off to the ER we went. Once again, another doctor agreed with my diagnosis and wrote him a prescription for oral antibiotics, which we filled and gave him at 2:30 a.m.
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. His eye was so swollen that the white part was bulging out from between his eyelid and his iris was obscured. He felt hot to the touch and a temperature check showed he had a raging fever. Despite having another child with epilepsy and being pretty good at keeping my cool, I cried the entire drive to a larger hospital. I prayed he wouldn’t lose his eye.
They started an IV of antibiotics almost as soon as we walked through the hospital doors. Because of the significant swelling, a CT scan was done to check his retina.
The next week was pretty scary. He had severe cellulitis that eventually spread down his face and to both eyes. They warned me he may lose vision in the worse eye, but in the end, thank the Lord his eyes healed.
But 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.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Eden Strong, and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories and YouTube for our best videos.
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