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5 Popular Mold-Prone Toys (and what to buy instead)

MOLD. Never a word you want to hear associated with your home or your precious babies. But unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for many baby toys to grow mold. Especially those that get chewed on or live in the bathtub.

HOWEVER… As always, it is very important to me for you to have as much unbiased information as possible. I never want to present just one side of the story to persuade you in a certain direction. This is by no means meant to be a fear-mongering post, so before I even start with the list of mold-prone toys I want you to hear what the experts have to say about mold and baby toys.

Are Moldy Toys Harmful to my Children?

I’ll quote you some of the experts’ opinions below, but the short answer is probably not in the small doses they get from their toys, but it could become a problem with prolonged exposure or to kids with mold allergies or compromised immune systems.

That said, mold grosses me out, and frankly, I just don’t have the desire or dedication to meticulously disinfect and clean my daughter’s toys on a weekly basis to prevent mold and mildew. I’d rather just find toys that avoid the issue altogether.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Says…

“Mold is most harmful if it is swallowed. If you think your child may have swallowed some bath water that had mold in it, relax, it was most likely not enough to make him or her sick… If the mold does affect the child, you will probably see vomiting, diarrhea or an upset stomach… Mold becomes a more serious concern if your child has a mold allergy or compromised immune system.”

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Cleveland Clinic Says…

“In general, these types of mold [found in children’s toys] are not concerning for a healthy child. A normal immune system is going to fight off this mold just fine and trace levels of mold are all around our environment. It doesn’t only come from toys like these.”

Pediatrician Kimberly Giuliano, Cleveland Clinic

Mold is likely to grow anywhere there is moisture and darkness. So whenever possible, try to dry out any toys that continually get wet.

Cleveland Clinic

So while swallowing a small amount of mold does not seem to be a huge problem, I personally don’t really want my child frequently chewing on moldy toys. Here are a few that are especially prone to mold (just take a look at some of the pictures in their reviews for confirmation), and several alternative toys to choose instead…

1. Infantino Textured Ball Set

This one is such a bummer because these balls are so loved by many babies and parents. Now if your kid doesn’t chew on these (good luck with that), then they’ll be fine! But the balls each have a small hole in them that lets the air (and saliva) in and out. So when your baby chews on it, they collect small amounts of moisture inside, which, if not cleaned thoroughly and frequently, will turn into mold.

What to Get Instead:

These balls are still easy for babies to grasp, can be chewed on, have different textures, but do not allow saliva to get inside.

Oball

Edushape Sensory Balls

2. Sophie the Giraffe

Sophie is such a popular teething toy for babies, but she made quite a splash a couple years ago when news of moldy giraffes went viral. The issue is the same as it is with the Infantino balls, the small hole that allows Sophie to be “squishable” collects drool and breeds mold.

What to Get Instead:

Babies love Sophie because she’s easy for little hands to hold and great for chewing on. These three toys boast those same qualities plus are much easier to keep mold-free as they don’t collect moisture. My daughter absolutely loved all of these.

Banana Toothbrush

Comotomo Silicone Teethers

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Teether

Feet, Toes or Fingers

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Toes make the perfect chew toy. Her toes, my toes, anyone’s toes… my daughter wasn’t picky…

3. Rubber Duckies

Bath toys in general are very susceptible to mold growth since they’re constantly wet. And unless you carefully dry out every bath toy after every bath (which let’s be real, is not going to happen once you’re chasing a dripping wet, un-potty-trained, naked toddler around the room), many will probably eventually grow mold or mildew. 

Now don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you deprive your kid of a rubber ducky… every kid needs a rubber ducky. Just choose wisely. Some have a hole in them allowing water to get in (particularly the ones that claim to “squeak”), resulting in mold.

What to Get Instead:

There are plenty of rubber duckies to choose from that do not have a hole, like the one below by Munchkin which also has a “HOT” indicator on the bottom to let you know if the bathwater is too hot.

Munchkin Bath Ducky

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But again, TOES are still a great option…

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4. Squirting Bath Toys

It is nearly impossible to get all the water out of those super fun squirty bath toys. And if your child is anything like mine, one of their favorite things to do is squirt that water straight into their mouth. And swallow it. Yuck.

Now as the experts said above, no need to panic if you realize that you kid has been drinking the bathwater out of a moldy toy… Lord knows my daughter has probably drank her fair share. But, honestly, I’d rather my kids NOT drink moldy bathwater even if it’s not going to kill them.

What to Get Instead:

Here are some alternative bath toy ideas that will still need to be cleaned, but are much easier to clean.

Mold-Free Fishing Set

Munchkin Floating Bath Toy

Stacking Cups

Boon Stacking Boats

5. Contigo & Camelbak Kids’ Water Bottles

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I know these aren’t toys, but they’re popular, and I thought they were worth mentioning.

Even when cleaned properly, certain water bottles can have hard-to-reach spots or even compartments that are impossible to reach without breaking the water bottle (see one of the most popular Contigo reviews). The Camelbaks aren’t as notorious for mold, but their “bite valves” can be difficult to clean and dry well. I’ve had a few get moldy despite my best efforts at cleaning.

What to Get Instead:

We’ve had this one for quite some time and have not had an issue. All the parts come out easily, are easy to clean, and dry well.

Thermos FUNtainer Water Bottle


I hope this post was helpful. Again, I do not mean to raise unnecessary alarm. Your kid has probably not been poisoned from the moldy toy he has been chewing on for months. But if you’re like me, it still doesn’t feel right letting my kid eat mold. She can eat dirt (which probably has mold in it) all she wants, but straight mold… NO THANKS!


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4 Comments

  1. irishtwins16 December 21, 2019
    • Lauren P December 21, 2019
  2. Kari December 22, 2019
    • Lauren P December 22, 2019

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