1.09.2012

Do you know what you're giving your children?

Pearyn loves bath time.

She absolutely adores any and all things involving the tubby.

You don't dare even utter the words "bath," "tubby" or "splashy" unless you're ready to commit a good 45 minutes to an hour camping out in the bathroom while Pearyn reenacts the sinking of the Titanic, the drowning and rescuing of her beloved Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck Seahorses and doodling all over the side of the tub and walls with her bath crayons.

She is seriously obsessed.

So for Christmas this year, there were two things we were definitely getting our little girl: Bathtub crayons (check, these are seriously awesome folks) and a bathtub finger paint soap set (check, this is trashed, for good, forever, until she's like, 40). They seemed like two awesome gifts we could get our little water bug.

Sweet, sick baby
Key word: Seemed.

I say "seemed" because while the tub crayons are an absolute hit, the finger paints were quite possibly the biggest fail on our part ever. We're talking EPIC failure. Like, gargantuan, moronic, biggest catastrophe of the year fail.

Remember how Pearyn has been sick for the last week? Like, crazy high fever (100-103), vomiting, chills and lethargy? And remember how we all assumed she just had a strain of the flu? Remember how she had an even crazier, higher temperature (102-104) three days LATER, not to mention more chills and more lethargy?  Remember how we took her to the doctor and they ran test and four days into the scary fever, chills, vomiting, lethargy epidemic we found out that Pearyn in fact didn't have the flu, but a bladder infection? (I know, a 20 month old with a bladder infection, wtf, right?)

Well, remember those bathtub finger paint soaps, again?

Are you catching my drift yet?

In case you haven't put two and two together, our doctor is nearly 100% certain that those super fun, super awesome (NOT) finger paint soaps are to blame for our little girls current state of distress.

That's right, fun, designed-for-little-kids, finger paint soap has absolutely ravaged my little girl's urinary tract system.

Are you aware of bladder infection symptoms? I was shocked to find that many of them (when the infection ranges from mild to severe) fall in line with the common flu bug. From high fevers, chills, vomiting and extreme lethargy, the only signs that generally set it apart from the flu is the burning and frequent urination. But how on earth is my 20-month-old daughter (who is just learning to tell me when she's going to the bathroom) going to communicate that it's burning when she pees?

What's a mother to do?

A week of sleep can cure anything.
We picked a natural brand. It said kid safe. It was non-animal tested for Pete's sake. It was soap. Like the five other kinds of soap Pearyn has had in her bath at one time or another. It had little characters on the bottle and a cute little dish to hold the colors in.

I realize there's a rumor going around that bubble baths should be avoided for itty bitty children, because it can reek havoc on their urinary systems. I thought we were in the clear. I thought natural, non-animal tested and environmentally friendly finger paint soap would be the last thing I had to worry about. Pearyn has been in the bath with bubbles before. Granted, it wasn't a big, poofy bubble bath, but there was some definite foam. Her body has never acted negatively to bubbles, so how could I have known it would this time?

After Pearyn's doctor and nurse assessed the situation and came up with the most-likely cause for her infection, I began to do some research of my own (aka Googling). I was absolutely blown away to discover hoards of reviews and parent comments with children who had the same reaction Pearyn did to the soap. From 10 and 20 month old sisters, to a three-year-old little girl, to a two-year-old boy, there were dozens of accounts of urinary infections after using these soaps dubbed "kid-friendly" and "natural."

The worst part? The manufacturer gets away with this crap because of the half-assed disclaimer on the back of the box of paint soap that says "Warning, prolonged use may cause irritation of the skin or urinary tract."

Prolonged use? What qualifies as prolonged use? 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or until your hands become all pruney? How can a product designed for a small child be so incredibly vague about something so incredibly important?

I'm not blaming the company here. I will completely own up to the part I played in this. I recognize that for every child who did develop a UTI from these finger paint soaps, a good 10-20 kids did not. I'm not trying to play the "I spilled my hot coffee on myself and burned my leg, so YOU owe me money for not telling me it was hot" card here.

I am, however, asking for parents to be more careful with what they're giving their child on a daily basis. I bought an all natural, kid friendly product, I didn't even bother to read the small print on the back, the disclaimer, the directions. Would I have changed my mind about giving her these paints had I read the flimsy warning on the back?

Probably not.

But had I read the plethora of reviews citing all of these sorts of problems before hand, would I have changed my mind?

Probably.

We're in this together, parents. Let's help each other out.

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