#NewFear. Numerous parents have discovered that their child’s beloved chew toy Sophie the Giraffe is filled with mold.
Pediatric dentist Dana Chianese, who regularly recommends teething toys to parents, told GoodHousekeeping.com that she discovered the horrifying reality when she decided to clean her child’s squeaky toy and noticed that it smelled musty.
"I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," Chianese said. "Smelly, ugly mold living in my infant's favorite chew toy!"
The mom of two said she has always followed the toy’s cleaning instructions — use hot soapy water with a damp sponge — and that, as advised, she’s never fully submerged the giraffe under water.
"It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on moldy toys," she told the magazine’s website. "I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients."
GoodHousekeeping.com points out that other parents have complained on Amazon about the mold issue as well.
"Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mold!" one Amazon customer wrote in the reviews section, while another added: "We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mold!"
Icky pics aside, Dr. Lyuba Konopasek, an associate professor of pediatrics at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, told Care.com that mold in toys isn’t a significant health risk unless your child has a mold allergy — which could lead to itchy eyes or coughing.
A spokeswoman for Sophie the Giraffe has since issued the below statement to Goodhousekeeping.com:
“First of all, it's important to know that Sophie la Girafe [Sophie the Giraffe] is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected. As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la Girafe with a damp cloth. It should not be immersed in the water nor rinsed off, to prevent water from getting inside, as she may become damaged. We thus would like to emphasize on the fact that is it important, while cleaning the product, that no water gets inside the hole. As of now, we have not been contacted by Mrs. Chianese … and were not aware of the situation before reading your article. It is thus difficult for us to comment on the current situation, as we haven't had the chance to examine the products. Please know that each complaint received is taken very seriously and that the return of the product is always asked for further examination. Furthermore, please know that the safety of children and satisfaction of their parents is our main priority. For the past 55 years, we have always strived to exceed security standards and all of our products comply with the most stringent global standards.”
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