Keeping Your Baby Safe From Mold
How To Keep Your Baby Safe From Mold
The love between a parent and their new baby is an indescribable feeling. It is the greatest love that you will ever know. That little bundle of joy is your whole world. Keeping your new baby safe can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating. There are so many things that you do not even think of when it comes to caring for a new baby. Your first thought is probably, “Keeping your baby safe from mold? Mold where? My house does not have mold.” Mold can sneak up on you where you least anticipate it. There are many different baby items that can definitely be a dwelling place for mold to cultivate. Places you would never even think of, some places that you couldn’t see at all. In this article, I am going to tell you the most vulnerable baby items that mold may breed in, how to prevent it from growing at all, and how to remove it if it has already grown in your precious baby’s objects.
Why is mold dangerous for my newborn baby?
Mold can be particularly dangerous for a newborn baby and even an expectant mother. Newborn babies have weak immune systems, as they are still developing. Be sure that your home does not have any mold dwelling within the walls and that your air ducts are clean. Babies can be born with (or develop) RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which is a very contagious and very common virus that infects the respiratory tract and lungs. Infected air quality in your home would be very dangerous especially if your new baby has RSV (even dangerous without this disease). A weak respiratory system in your new baby can lead to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). A weakened respiratory and immune system can also lead to more long-term problems like asthma. Poor air quality can do damage to your new baby’s respiratory system. I would recommend getting your home inspected before your new baby’s arrival (particularly if you are suspicious of any mold in your home or think your air ducts need a good cleaning). Keeping your baby safe from mold is very important for their overall health and wellbeing.
Bath Toys, as innocent as that cute little rubber ducky may look, these types of toys are one of the uppermost places that mold may be hiding. We all know that babies put anything and everything in their mouths, particularly these squeaky and easy to chew toys for the teething baby. Since most of these toys have a hole in the bottom to suck in and squirt out water, mold almost always develops inside of these toys. This is due to the fact that mold is known to grow in dark, damp places. You may notice one day that your baby will squeeze the toy and some black gooey substance will shoot into their bathtub, which would be mold. More then likely, this mold is not toxic, but as a new parent, seeing such a substance may frighten you (especially since your child has most likely put that toy in his or her mouth). There is nothing quite as darling to watch as your baby splishing and splashing in the bathtub, so you just want to make sure that their bath toys are harmless and mold free. One thing that you can do to prevent moldy bath toys (besides just not purchasing the type of toys where water can enter) is to take a hot glue gun and fill the hole at the bottom of the toy to seal it shut. This way, water will not enter, mold will not grow, you and your baby will be able to enjoy bath time without worrying about your baby ingesting mold! Also, keep in mind that you should wash your child’s bath toys on a regular basis. You can wash them in your dishwasher, soak them in a vinegar solution, or soak them in a bleach solution. Using the vinegar or bleach solution is a good thing to try if the toys already have mold in them. To clean your child’s bath toys with the vinegar solution, mix one half of a cup of white vinegar with one gallon of water and let the toys soak for an hour. Then, scrub down all of the toys and make sure to squeeze all of the water out of each toy and let them dry outside. If that solution does not get all of the mold out of the toys, try the bleach solution (vinegar is a great natural disinfectant and much safer to handle and breathe then bleach is, so I would recommend trying this route first). The bleach solution is ¾ of a cup of bleach with one gallon of water, let the toys soak in this solution for one hour, scrub them down (using gloves and a sponge), rinse the toys very well to ensure that you get all of the bleach off of them, squeeze out all of the bath toys, and let them dry outside.
Nasal bulb syringe, this item is used to suction mucous out of your baby’s stuffed up nose. Nothing is quite as sad as your baby’s first cold, and this item can seem like a lifesaver (most hospitals give you one of them to take home after your baby is born). This is one of the most commonly used baby items out there, especially in your baby’s first year. There is pretty much no other way to get the snot out of their little noses other then by using a bulb syringe. Just like the bath toys, liquid goes inside but it is impossible to completely dry inside. Even washing them with hot, soapy water, mold is bound to grow inside of these nasal aspirators. It is very dark and moist inside, which is a dream home for mold, it is where they grow and live. The thought of sticking one of these bulbs inside of your newborns nose and possibly letting them inhale any mold is pretty scary. The best idea is to stay away from this type of nasal syringe all together since there is not an effective way of drying the inside. There are companies that make nasal aspirators that come apart into separate pieces so that they can be properly cleaned and (most importantly) dried after each use.
High chairs, once you enter the very fun stage of introducing baby foods and finger foods, a high chair is your new best friend. As we all know (or you will soon find out), babies are very messy eaters. They think it is hilarious to throw food on the floor, get it all over themselves and new outfits, and all over their high chair. Almost every high chair is going to have a cloth high chair cover where your baby is seated. Food is bound to sneak under that fabric cover. It also is going to get wet, either from your babies drink, a sticky food or plain baby food. If the high chair is not properly cleaned and dried on a regular basis, mold is likely to grow underneath that fabric cover. After your little one’s belly is all full and you have some free time to clean up (as rare as that may be as a new parent), clean your high chair thoroughly. Take a basic disinfectant cleaner and wipe down all areas of the high chair, get rid of any crumbs, and most importantly, clean your high chair cover. Most of these high chair covers are machine washable. I would recommend washing the cover on a regular, as-needed basis. Once the cover is cleaned and completely dried, place it back on the high chair (and get ready for it to get messy all over again!) As tedious as this process may be, it is much better then discovering that your baby is sitting (and eating) in a moldy high chair and having to possibly replace it.
Car seats and strollers, like I said before, babies are very messy. Car seats and strollers can very easily get wet: whether it be from a spilled bottle/sippy cup, a leak in the diaper, drool, etc. Along with the high chair instructions, make sure to regularly clean your baby’s car seat with a disinfectant (as they can get sticky too) and if possible, wash the car seat cover. Make sure everything is completely dried before putting the cover back onto the seat. Along with your stroller, as it can very easily get wet when outside on a walk (puddles, rain, etc.) be sure to let it dry before putting it away, especially if your put it in a tight, dark space such as the trunk of your car. Anything that gets wet and stays wet has a very increased risk of producing mold. Almost anything can fall under this category with a baby. Be sure to clean your child’s car seat and stroller as regularly as possible to prevent mold from growing underneath it.
Bottles and sippy cups, these are particularly likely to grow mold if they are not properly cared for seeing as they hold liquids. Mold can very easily grow inside the nipple or spout of a bottle or sippy cup. There are small holes inside of the part that your baby drinks out of. After your little one is finished with their bottle or sippy cup, be sure to wash them very well in hot, soapy water. You can even opt to invest in a bottle sterilizer to ensure that all of the germs are killed. Bottles and sippy cups come apart in many different pieces to be washed, be sure to take the cups completely apart and wash them separately. If you wash the whole lid all at once, mold can grow in between the nipple and screw on lid. After washing, hand dry them with a towel as best as you can and then leave them out to dry the rest of the way. Be sure to let them dry in separate pieces (if you put the cup back together, it is going to be very humid inside and completely defeat the purpose). Carefully inspect each part to make sure it is properly disinfected and dried before putting it away and giving it to your baby again to drink out of.
Crib or pack n play mattresses, these mattresses can also be susceptible to mold since they are very likely to get wet and do not get much ventilation. This may happen more easily during the summer or if you live in a very humid area. Be sure to check under your child’s mattress and sheets regularly to ensure that no mold is growing where your baby sleeps. A lot of moisture occurs when your baby is sleeping: they drool, sweat, bottles drip, they can wet the bed, a lot can happen in one night. To prevent this, you will just need to take basic care of your baby’s bedding. As long as you are regularly washing the crib’s bedding and checking under the mattress, this is very avoidable.
Are there any additional tips for keeping your baby safe from mold?
The greatest and most important tip to keeping your baby safe from mold is to dry, dry, dry! Dry everything that your baby is going to come into contact with after you disinfect it. Be sure to check any food that you give your baby for mold (we have all seen this at one time or another). Babies are very sticky and wet little ones. Be sure to wash your babies wet clothes immediately, do not leave them in the laundry hamper for days until you wash them, as this can cause mold to grow on those cute outfits you just bought! As long as you are cautious in keeping your baby’s items clean and dry, you should not have a problem with mold. If you do happen to notice any mold within your home (other then your baby’s items) be sure to contact a professional mold removal contractor to come inspect and repair the problem. There is nothing more important then keeping your baby safe from mold and any other hazards. Good luck in your new journey to parenthood!