Baby Health

Bath Toy Danger: Mum’s Warning After Toddler’s Near Blindness from Bath Water

This little boy in the photos above is Baylor. He is your typical cheeky toddler who has just gone through a horrifying experience after accidentally squirting himself in the eye with contaminated bath water. 

His mum, writer, Eden Strong, shared his story on her Facebook page and it’s something we think every parent needs to read. 

**WARNING** These images are quite confronting. 

Eden admits she didn’t know whether to share the photos or not as they are quite graphic. But, in the end, she decided others needed to know what could happen. We are glad she did. 

Below is her story:

Baylor squirted himself in the eye with a tub toy,” our nanny told me one day.

Baylor bath tub water danger
Baylor’s eye started to look a little red immediately. Source: Facebook

I noticed his eye was a little bit red. I figured it was just irritated from the water, or maybe the pressure of the water, and so I didn’t think much of it. But when I put him in his high chair that night for dinner and noticed that 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.” 

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Baylor bath tub dangers
Mum Eden initially thought Baylor had pink eye. Source: Facebook

The next day

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.

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 2:30am.

Baylor bath toy danger
Baylor’s eyes continued to get worse and worse. Source: Facebook

When he woke up at 6am 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 being obscured.”

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The infection started after squirting himself in the eye with bathwater from a bath toy. Source: Facebook

He felt hot to the touch and he had a raging fever. I cried the entire drive to a larger hospital, praying that he wouldn’t lose his eye.”

The diagnosis

Doctors confirmed what Eden suspected: Baylor had severe cellulitis, a common, potentially serious bacterial skin infection. The infection had spread down to his face and to both his eyes. 

bath toy danger - infection
Baylor contacted cellulitis in both of his eyes due to contaminated bath water inside a bath toy. Source: Facebook

Baylor started IV antibiotics as soon as he arrived at the hospital but his eyes were incredibly damaged. Doctors told Eden her son might lose vision in one of his eyes. 

Thankfully, after a very scary week, this brave little guy made a full recovery.  

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It took Baylor over a week to recover. Source: Facebook

Bath tub toy danger

Like many of us, Eden was fully aware how mouldy bath toys can get but cleaned Baylor’s toys regularly.  

I knew water could get trapped in tub toys, particularly the rubber ones designed to squirt water. I’ve seen the posts where mums have cut them open and discovered a ridiculous amount of mould inside.”

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Eden knew how mouldy bath toys can get. Image via Reddit (not from Eden)

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 that bacteria can still grow. Invisible bacteria.

I don’t have any mouldy tub toy pictures to show here, because there was never any visible mold to take a picture of.

The bottom line:

“Those bathtub toys? Just throw them out.”

Sorry rubber ducks, you’re gone. It’s just not worth the risk. 

Not the first time

While this may seem like a one-off experience, it’s actually not the case. Several parents shared similar stories on Eden’s Facebook feed, confirming the dangers of bacteria from bath toys getting into our children’s eyes.

How scary!! I don’t know about you but I’ll be binning my toddler’s bath toys ASAP. 

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Jan

    I glue gun the holes in the bath toys so they can’t get water inside

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