According to Eden Strong, she was well aware that if water became caught inside the floating toys her kid played with in the bath, a concerning amount of bacteria may start to grow there if left unattended. The freelance writer and mother of three from Chicago had seen numerous messages on social media from mothers who had torn open their children’s rubber duckies only to find a goldmine of mold. Because of this, she made it a point to squeeze them dry after each bath and to periodically wash them with water and bleach to prevent the growth of bacteria. However, as she just revealed on Facebook, it seems that wasn’t enough, and it required a terrifying trip to the emergency room for her to learn a lesson she’s now disseminating widely.
She admitted in a September 21 Facebook post that she was hesitant to even share the story out of concern that some people might find it challenging to see the photographs. She acknowledged to CafeMom that she didn’t want to frighten parents anymore given the pandemic’s onset.
Strong, though, has given a lot of consideration to the things she wishes she had known earlier in the months since, and she now feels it is her responsibility to warn other parents.
As they passed each other in the upstairs hallway of her house, her nanny said, “Baylor squirted himself in the eye with a tub toy.”
Strong noticed that he had a little redness in one of his eyes but wasn’t very concerned.
She subsequently said on her post, “I figured it was just irritated from the water, or maybe the pressure of the water, so I didn’t think much of it.”
As the night went on, that changed.
She said, “I had my husband run him over to urgent care, presuming he had pink eye, when I realized his eye seemed even redder than it had earlier when I put him in his high chair that night for supper.
So her two-year-old son was given some prescription eye drops and told to go.
Baylor immediately received one dose, but Strong made the decision to give him a booster dose in the middle of the night to “certain he would be feeling better by morning.”
But what she saw when she went into his room stunned her.
Baylor, who was sleeping in his crib, gave her a backward glance while sporting an eye that was twice as big as it had been at bedtime. And to make matters worse, his cheek was starting to become red.
That’s what a doctor determined when she took him to the ER at 2:30 in the morning.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cellulitis is a common but potentially dangerous bacterial skin infection that causes swollen, red, and painful skin that may even feel warm to the touch. Even while it typically affects the lower legs, it can also affect the face, arms, and other parts of the body. It frequently occurs when the skin develops a crack or break that allows germs to enter and cause an infection.
Following his examination, Baylor was once more sent home with an oral antibiotic prescription.
But unhappily, Strong was wrong; a few hours later, when she checked on her son again in his cradle, she was shocked.
Strong writes, “I yelled to my husband to get in the van when I lay eyes on him in his cot at 6 a.m. “His eye was so enlarged that his iris was hidden and the white portion of it protruded from in between his eyelids. He was warm to the touch, and a quick check of his temperature revealed a severe fever.”
Her fear increased as they moved closer.
The mother stated, “I cried the entire way to a bigger hospital, praying that he wouldn’t lose his sight.
Bennett, her 9-year-old son, suffers from epilepsy, and Savannah, her 12-year-old daughter, has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition that damages the body’s connective tissues. She has made numerous trips back and forth to the hospital for both of her children over the years, always worrying about their health and wellbeing.
However, in some respects, those experiences have toughened her up for how to deal with tense circumstances and, more importantly, how to fight for the best healthcare they can receive.
Strong tells CafeMom that she “is unfortunately used to dealing with medical issues on a regular basis, and I think it enabled me to advocate for my child.” It’s frightening to consider what would have happened to Baylor if I had given up on advocating for treatment and chosen to give the eyedrops a few days to take effect.
As soon as they arrived, Baylor was given an IV of antibiotics, and because of the severe swelling, a CT scan was immediately requested to check on his retina.
However, despite receiving emergency care, the ordeal was far from finished.
Strong described the subsequent week as “very scary” as she anxiously awaited her son’s recovery.
He did have cellulitis, as she had initially suspected, but it was such a bad case that it eventually traveled down his face and over both of his eyes. Doctors even cautioned her that Baylor might lose vision in one of his eyes since the situation had gotten so terrible.
She still thinks about that awful incident today.
She claims, “It was like his entire future flashed before me and everything looked different from what I had envisioned.
Baylor’s eyes finally recovered after several days, and Strong reports that his vision doesn’t seem to be affected. But she has a message for other parents that she just can’t keep to herself after the horrific incident.
“Tub toys, though? DISCARD THEM, “In her Facebook post, she begged. “Simply put, you cannot clean them. Because there was never any obvious mold to photograph, I don’t have any images of moldy tub toys to display here. Although I’ve known since science class in the sixth grade that you can’t see bacteria, I still believed I was superior than dirty tub toys. I was mistaken.”
Strong claims she was unaware that hazardous bacteria can still grow and remain undetectable to the naked eye on the inside of toys because she routinely cleaned her son’s toys with a bleach and water solution.
No one is more stunned than Strong herself, who claims to be “totally shocked” by how popular it has become.
She tells CafeMom, “I put up the post last Monday night and it began to spread so quickly that by Tuesday morning, the ability to have posts shared on my Facebook account was frozen. “The message again spread like wildfire when it was unlocked Thursday night.”
The number of parents who have contacted her to relate experiences that are similar has shocked and demoralized her, she says. “It’s really made me realize that the problem is much deeper and that the tub toys that manufacturers are making need to be carefully scrutinized,” the author said.
However, there were also a large number of parents who were horrified to learn that something similar could occur.
OMG I had no idea, a parent wrote. “I am very relieved that he is doing well; his eyes are so lovely.”
How frightening, said a third. “I was aware that they accumulated black mold because I had seen it on toys belonging to my own children, but I was unaware that bleach would not solve the issue. My kids definitely squirted the thing at themselves and each other, so I’m not sure how they managed to avoid the same destiny.”
Even people who are not parents valued the warning.
One Facebook user commented, “I don’t have kids yet, but I’m very grateful you posted this.” “I’m very sorry that you and your child had to go through this! And I’m thrilled that he recovered from it!”
Others, though, offered suggestions for keeping tub toys secure. Several tub toys that are suggested but lack air openings through which water can enter. (One mother even claimed that she foregoes purchasing actual toys in favor of letting her children play with items like strainers and Tupperware.)
Others revealed a little-known technique for stopping water from entering the toys in the first place.
One person said, “I have seen people buy brand-new ones and cover the hole with hot glue so that kids can still play with the toy but water doesn’t get inside it and get nasty.
Strong was surprised to find that most of the comments were overwhelmingly encouraging.
She tells us, “I was afraid that people would dismiss me as being an alarmist, but after seeing the thousands of messages from parents whose children experienced something similar, I am now happy to be the one raising the alarm.”
She reports that Baylor is doing well and that he handled the situation with “such a trooper.”
She goes on to say, “He did spend quite a bit of time smiling his way through everything, even though I chose some of the more unsettling pictures of him for my post.
Nevertheless, she claims she will always remember hearing Baylor scream “Go home, mom. Take a drive “while she restrained him so that nurses could put an IV in him.
Strong continues by saying that the toddler’s constant rubbing of his eyes, which was difficult to stop, likely made the infection worse and spread to both eyes. But for now, she’s just relieved that everything is behind them and that, hopefully, their story will prevent others from going through the same heartbreak.