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Toilet-Diving Tots

Your older child forgot to fasten the toilet-lid lock (again), and, sure enough, your busy baby got two steps ahead of you, lifted the lid, and discovered a fun place to splash before you could stop him. Ick! Is he going to get sick now? "Theoretically, he could," says Rachel Orscheln, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at St. Louis Children's Hospital. While urine is sterile (so don't worry too much if your baby pees in the tub), feces carry germs that can cause illness  -- and those germs can live on toilet surfaces. But don't panic, says Dr. Orscheln: Just wash your tyke off with soap and water, then let the incident go. You only need to call the doctor if your baby had contact with the stool of someone who has been ill with a stomach virus or diarrhea, or if your child has a weakened immune system. Also, avoid the toilet bowl cleaners that release disinfectant into the water with each flush  -- and pose a poisoning risk  -- until your baby is past this stage.

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