Thanks to one Montreal mom’s alarming viral photo of the mold she discovered growing on the inside of her daughter’s sippy cup, we know that your kid’s favorite drinking container may not be as clean as it seems. And now there’s new evidence that the problem may be even more widespread.
Good Morning America analyzed the germs on over 50 kids’ products that are constantly exposed to water—specifically sippy cups and bath toys—sent in by parents from across the country, and the results even shocked the experts.
Susan Whittier, Ph.D., a microbiologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Hospital in New York City and scientist behind the study, found bacteria and mold growing on 100% of the products tested, according to ABC News. Researchers also found fecal matter on more than 25% of the sippy cups tested. Yikes!
Whittier examined rubber, foam, and plastic bath toys, and found that rubber toys were the dirtiest.
It’s easy to imagine any sippy cup or toy becoming a breeding-ground for bacteria—kids are constantly touching their surroundings, unaware of germs, after all—but the fact that every item contained bacteria or mold is what surprised this expert.
This study makes it seem like germs and mold are almost unavoidable, so do we need to worry? For kids with healthy immune systems, parents don’t need to be overly concerned. “The health risk is probably minimal, but it’s just gross to think about,” Whittier said.
There is, however, the risk of an allergic reaction. “If they were to ingest that, it’s unpredictable,” she warned.
The takeaway: Bath toys and sippy cups need to be replaced after awhile. While in use, toys should be cleaned with disinfecting wipes and rinsed once a week, and sippy cups should be disassembled and cleaned on high heat in in the dishwasher.
See more expert tips and the complete coverage of this study in this ABC News video: