How Gross is It? Your Germiest Situations Analyzed
Experts examine some of Mom's most-feared dirt and germ situations to figure out if it's as bad as you think it is -- or worse. Plus, 16 germ-busting products for your family
How gross is it...when your kids pee or poop in the tub?
Experts say: There is no bacteria in urine, says Jennifer Shu, M.D., a pediatrician in Atlanta, Georgia, a mom and coauthor of Heading Home With Your Newborn. So, a simple pee in the tub (which, let's face it, probably happens more often than not) is a non-event. University of Arizona Professor of microbiology, father to two, and grandfather to two, Chuck Gerba adds that even poop contains "your child's own organisms that he already has in his intestines, so you don't need to worry about him getting ill. It's everybody else's poop you have to worry about."
When it matters: If your child has open cuts or sores (eczema or chicken pox, for instance), "it can certainly get infected," says Mary P. Glode, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and The Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado. And if another person were to ingest some of the poop (say a sibling sharing the bath who accidentally swallows water), they could get diarrhea from any bacteria or viruses in the poop.
How to handle it: When a poop crashes the rubber ducky party, there's no need to go crazy with the bleach. "I would suggest you scoop the poop, drain, clean the tub and child quickly with hot soapy water, and then finish bathing your kid," says Shu. As for regular tub cleaning, Shu says "Unless it's being pooped in on a regular basis, cleaning it "every week or two (or when it looks dirty) with a chlorine-based cleaner followed by a good rinse" is sufficient.