— -- Bath toys and sippy cups are some of a toddler’s favorite things -– but with near constant exposure to a wet environment, just how clean are they?
“GMA” Investigates asked parents across the country to let us test their children’s sippy cups and bath toys for germs. On behalf of "GMA," by Dr. Susan Whittier, a microbiologist at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Hospital in New York City, tested more than 50 items for mold and bacteria.
The results were jaw-dropping. All the products we tested were found to have some mold and/or bacteria. The bacteria we found would not pose a health risk in a nonimmunocompromised child, although there is the risk of skin infections if the bacteria came into contact with breaks in the skin.
Fecal bacteria was growing on more than 25 percent of the sippy cups we tested.
"The health risk is probably minimal, but it’s just gross to think about,” Whittier said.
We tested bath toys made of rubber, foam, and plastic and found that the rubber toys were the dirtiest. Two of them tested positive for mold, including one submitted by our producer.
"If they were to ingest that it’s unpredictable; they could have an allergic reaction,” Whittier said.
Whittier says parents should clean bath toys with disinfectant wipes and rinse them once a week. As for the sippy cups, Whittier says that parents should make sure they can be completely disassembled, and clean them in the dishwasher on high heat.
Manufacturers also suggest that parents always let cups and toys dry completely before using them.