So, not only are we the “new family of kids on the block” but we are also the new “green family” on the block. Moving from large city to small town has shown us that some concepts have not quite made it to the country yet, which was evident at my daughter’s second birthday.
Though we asked for no gifts, as she was all set for toys at the current moment, we inevitably still ended up with a “little something” from some of her new local friends. One of the gifts was a set of plastic bath toys that looked like creatures of the sea – you know a green turtle a sky blue dolphin. Now before moving on, I look to the advice of other Green Parents, in a new town how do you ask for “eco-friendly” gifts? When we are the gift giver, we always look to give something that has as little impact on the environment as possible: made of recycled material, made by a local artisan, natural fibers, and with as little packaging as possible or just a donation to the kids favorite charity. But admittedly, we have attended kids’ parties, where we have been friends with the parents for quite some time, and know they have similar green values to us.
So now we are in new waters and I welcome thoughts and advice.
Would you have given the plastic toys away?
We could have put them straight in to the recycling bin but that felt so wasteful, and part of our core values is to use and reuse as much as possible.
Anyway, so we now have these plastic bath toys (made in China), and naturally my two year old has fallen in love with them, and cannot bathe without them (or go to bed without them). I checked to make sure that they are at least BPA free (they are) before agreeing to let her play with them in the tub. This is a kid that has enjoyed several cupcakes and 100% attention on her all day so I was not going to go through the “fight” of not giving them to her as we got in to the bath and bed routine. Admittedly I needed her to go to bed for I need a break as much as she needed the sleep.
In the tub we discover that the toys squirt water and we have a great time playing with the toys in the bubbles. Well like many new toys, the newness wore off and the toys sat in their bucket on the edge of the tub for about a month, only to be asked for a couple days ago. So out they come and into the tub and of course we squirt the water out of them…but what comes out of them is not water but black slime in the tub.
Naturally, I scooped my daughter out of the tub and looked to see if she had any of the black slime on her (she didn’t), but we used mummy’s tub that night.
Over a month the toys, had been damp inside and not able to dry and the result was black mold growing inside them. YIKES! I know it sounds silly, but I never thought that bath toys could be so treacherous, but we learned a lesson, whether these had been recycled plastic toys or not, we need to be able to get into every surface of a toy, to make sure it can fully dry, or be rinsed out so harmful bacteria can’t get in and grow there.
So, if you have bath toys like we do, make sure you clean them out regularly. If they do squirt water, filling them with a solution of vinegar and water, shaking and squirting as much of the solution as you can, on a regular basis, will prevent the growing of mold inside these toys.
Hope our lesson helps you and your family.