A mother in the US has warned parents about the dangers of mouldy bath toys, after her toddler almost lost his eyesight.
Eden Strong issued the heartbreaking plea via a lengthy Facebook post, recounting the terrifying ordeal her two-year-old son, Baylor, endured after he squirted himself in the eye with water from one of the toys.
"I knew water could get trapped in tub toys, particularly the rubber ones designed to squirt water," the mother-of-three wrote.
"I've seen the posts where mum's have cut them open and discovered a ridiculous amount of mould inside. I knew."
Strong said she regularly cleaned the toys with a bleach solution and checked for mould, however this wasn't enough to stop "invisible bacteria" from growing.
When Baylor's eye immediately turned red, the mum-of-three assumed her little boy's eye had become "irritated by the water" and that he had developed conjunctivitis.
Strong's husband took the toddler to the doctor, who confirmed the diagnosis and issued him with eye drops. However, Baylor took a turn for the worse overnight.
"I wasn't expecting to find him in his crib with an eye twice the size as it was when he went to bed, with redness spreading down his cheek," Strong explains.
"A bit of an internet medical guru, I immediately wondered if he might be developing cellulitis, and so off to the ER we went," she said.
"There, another doctor once again agreed with my diagnosis and wrote him a prescription for oral antibiotics, which we filled and gave him at 2:30am."
However, when they woke up the next morning, little Baylor's eye was even more swollen and he'd developed a fever.
Eden Strong with Baylor. Photo: Facebook
"His eye was so swollen that the white part was bulging out from between his eyelid and his iris was being obscured," she described. "He felt hot to the touch and a temperature check showed that he had a raging fever."
When they arrived at the hospital, doctors immediately started him on IV antibiotics and gave him a CT scan to check his retina.
"He had severe cellulitis that eventually spread down his face and to both eyes," the distressed mum explained.
"The next week was pretty scary. They warned me that he may lose vision in the worse eye, but in the end, thank the Lord his eyes healed."
Strong urges parents to throw out bath toys, warning them of the 'invisible bacteria'.
"You cannot clean them, you just can't," she wrote. "I don't have any mouldy tub toy pictures to show here, because there was never any visible mould to take a picture of."
The post has been shared over 157,000 times, with grateful parents thanking the mum for sharing her story.
"Oh that poor little face!!" one woman wrote. "I'm so happy to hear his eyes healed completely."
"I never thought that could happen even though tub toys are cleaned thoroughly," added another. "Thank you for sharing."