You finally wrestle your tot into the tub after a dinner scene involving mac 'n' cheese in his ears, when he scrunches up his face and lets a big one loose. Now what? Pediatrician and mom Lara Zibners, M.D., gives us the dirty details:
Eww! There's a turd in the tub! There's no need to break out the bleach -- it's unlikely that it will make him sick. His immune system is accustomed to the bacteria living in his own GI tract (but not to those in other people's). Just take your little pooper out and give the tub a quick rinse before putting him back. As for pee, it's sterile unless a child has a bladder or urinary-tract infection, and neither poo nor pee will irritate your child's skin.
Ick! She's drinking the dirty bathwater! While drinking water filled with your own skin and your own bacteria is gross, it's not dangerous. (The stomach is made to handle a little dirt.) Soap, if ingested in large quantities, may cause diarrhea, but otherwise it's harmless unless it is medicated (think dandruff shampoo) or concentrated (dishwasher detergent).
Yech! The tub toys are moldy! Mold may cause lung irritation in kids with allergies or asthma, but these small amounts are usually not a concern. Rinse off tub toys and let them dry before storing them, and replace squirt toys -- which can harbor dirty water -- about every six months.