When did bath-time turn from a function into a full occasion?

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

We were never really a rubber duck sort of family; growing up, the closest you got to it was filling an empty Radox bottle with suds and squirting it at your brother – and as parents, it was more about getting the little fellas in and out of the bath without drowning them than indulging in bath-time rituals.

For most Irish people, bath-time was like meal-time – a functional undertaking for the purposes of survival as opposed to an occasion to be savoured and prolonged.

Thus, no ducks – or battleships or dinosaurs for that matter – but a thorough scrubbing until your skin was pink and clean as a whistle.

However, as we have now come to view meals as an occasion as opposed to a mere stop for refuelling, so too bath-time is an elongated process, with washing as only one part of the equation.

This the growth in demand for rubber ducks and bath-toys and diversions so that kids will stay in there splashing away until their skin is more wrinkled than a prune.

But for every upside there’s a downer – and this one comes compliments of a team of microbiologists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, who have revealed the dangers than lurk in rubber ducks.

The found that the humble yellow duck is downright dangerous, and they should either be cleaned out regularly or thrown away altogether – to avoid the risk of eye, ear and stomach infections.

The researchers, aided and abetted by scientists from the University of Illinois, studied 19 baths and carried out controlled experiments on six identical bath toys in the laboratory.

Then they cut open the ducks and peered inside – to find that over half of them were filled with fungi, slathered with dense and slimy biofilms on the inner surface.

Potentially disease-causing bacteria were identified in 80 per cent of the bath toys, including legionella – or Legionnaires’ disease – and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

For  more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.