Can Mold Affect Babies?
Updated: Apr 27
Mold loves moisture, and it’s pretty easy to find a puddle when there’s a baby nearby. Unfortunately, mold can work its way through even the tiniest of holes, even the ones in teething toys, squeaky bath buddies, and inflatable swim rings.
Babies love splashing around, but bathtime is not so fun if their favorite rubber ducky is full of mold inside. Here’s more about how mold affects babies and how to tell if your baby’s toys might be harboring mold.
Is There Mold Inside Your Baby’s Toys?
Any hollow toys that get wet repeatedly could have mold growing inside. This includes rubber teething toys, plastic bath toys, and inflatable pool toys. While mold in baby toys isn’t proven to cause serious harm, it’s best not to take the risk.
Mold in Teething Toys
Parents in 2017 got a big scare when one mother cut open a popular teething toy and discovered that it was filled with mold. If drool can find its way inside a teething toy, so can mold.
Mold in Bath Toys
Bathrooms are notorious for mold and mildew growth—they’re warm, humid, and often downright wet when there’s a splashy baby or toddler around. Keep your bathroom well ventilated, wipe up any excess water, and make sure that bath toys and towels can dry completely.
Mold in Pool Toys
A clean, well-maintaining pool is far less likely to grow water mold or pink slime. However, mold spores can still affect pool toys, even in chlorinated water. Wash pool toys occasionally with soap and water, always let them dry completely after use, and replace them if they smell bad or start to look discolored.
How Can You Prevent Mold in Baby Toys?
The best thing to do is to keep your baby’s toys as clean as possible. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, and sterilize the toys occasionally if possible. (Some materials, like natural rubber, will degrade in bleach solutions, boiling water, or the hot cycle on a dishwasher and cannot be sterilized using those methods.) Always let toys dry completely after washing or sterilizing, and make sure that no water remains inside.
Stagnant water inside any hollow object can quickly turn into mold. When in doubt, throw it out! If a toy starts to smell bad, get rid of it. If your child gets attached to a particular rubber ducky or teething toy, you might want to purchase multiples so that you can replace them every few months.
How Does Mold Exposure Affect Babies?
Whether it’s inhaled or ingested, mold can cause some serious health problems for babies. Most babies have healthy immune systems and will be able to fight off illnesses from mold. However, if your child has allergies or a compromised immune system, mold exposure can be very dangerous.
About 1 in every 4 people has an allergy to mold. If your baby has red, itchy eyes or sniffles and sneezes that never seem to go away, it could be due to mold allergies. Repeated exposure to mold causes symptoms much like seasonal allergies—coughing, congestion, runny nose—but the allergic response continues long after pollen season.
Indoor mold has also been linked to childhood asthma. More than 6 million children in the United States have asthma, and mold exposure increases the likelihood of childhood asthma quite significantly. In homes with high levels of moldiness, mold remediation helped reduce asthma symptoms.
Exposure to mold can also complicate illnesses like pneumonia, making them worse and sometimes even life-threatening. Mold is especially dangerous to children with compromised immune systems, organ transplants, and chronic sinus or respiratory infections.
Is There Mold in Your San Francisco Home?
If there’s mold in your baby’s toys, chances are high that there’s more mold infesting the rest of your home. While a little mold inside a bath toy might not be enough to make them sick, constant exposure to spores from indoor mold could.
My Pure Environment will test your air quality and inspect your home thoroughly—if we find any mold, we'll advise you on your next best steps toward getting rid of it for good. For expert mold testing and remediation, call us at 408-741-9878 or schedule a free inspection online today.
Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 6/17/2022.