The Next Personal Injury Risk: Your Kid’s Rubber Ducky?


OMAHA, Nebraska. Children’s bath toys may be havens for dangerous bacteria, a recent study found. The New York Times reports that American and Swiss researchers tested the insides of toy ducks. What they found was pretty gross. The pathogens the researchers found could potentially cause eye, ear, and stomach infections. Among the bacteria found: Legionella, and infections often associated with hospitals. Hospital infections can be quite serious, leading to serious illness and even death.

Why would the rubber ducks have so much bacteria? The unusually high levels of bacteria might be due to the material from which the ducks are made. It can serve as a breeding ground and nutrient for bacteria. Researchers recommended that companies switch to using higher-quality polymers when making toy ducks and other bath toys to reduce the risk for bacteria growth. Bath water can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. It is warm and dirty.

Researchers are looking closely at how household objects can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Toy ducks are not the only place. According to Refinery29, your smartphone might have more bacteria on it than a public toilet—yet another reason to put down your phone while driving, eating, or doing just about anything else. The best way to prevent the spread of disease from your phone? Clean the screen. There are safe ways to do this.

Kitchen sponges are another major breeding ground for bacteria. 350 different species were found on kitchen sponges, which is the same density of bacteria you find in human stool. Cleaning your kitchen sponge doesn’t make the situation better either, because common disinfectant attempts only killed the weaker bacteria, letting the stronger and more pathogenic species flourish.

While we’re not likely to see outbreaks anytime soon due to common household objects, there are certainly things we can do to protect ourselves. For one, wash your hands before using your phone. If your children’s bath toys are suspect, throw them away. Don’t hang on to bath toys that have cavities that can’t be easily cleaned. Finally, companies can also take steps to protect the general public. It seems that by changing the material out of which the ducks are made could make a difference.

Hospital infections are another major safety risk, but this risk is due largely because we take more antibiotics than we should. Every year, nursing home residents and hospital patients die due to deadly infections.

Rensch & Rensch Law are personal injury lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska who work closely with victims and families who have suffered due to defective products or wrongful death due to negligence or error. Hospitals have a responsibility to keep their rooms clean and nursing homes have a responsibility to their residents to prevent infection. When these locations fail to prevent infections from spreading, innocent people can get hurt or even die. If your loved one was hurt due to an infection or you believe a defective product may be to blame, visit us at to learn more about your options and rights.

Rensch & Rensch Law

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Omaha, NE 68114


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