Sophie the Giraffe is a beloved teething toy in many households, but the shocking discovery that some parents have made is prompting others to check their child's rubber animal immediately.
Dana Chianese was cleaning her son's toy last month when she noticed a musty scent coming from the giraffe. As a pediatric dentist, this mom-of-two recommends teething toys like Sophie to parents every day, so she quickly investigated the unpleasant odor. "I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," Dana told Good Housekeeping. "Smelly, ugly mold living in my infant's favorite chew toy!"
Dana explained that she was always diligent about cleaning the toy according to the company's instructions and used soapy hot water with a sponge, but never submerged the toy under water. "It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on moldy toys," she said. "I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients."
Dana isn't the only mom making this unpleasant discovery; Amazon reviewers are posting warnings to parents, some including photos of their mold-filled toys. "Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mold," Amazon user, Stephanie Opera, posted. "We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mold!"
A spokesperson for Sophie the Giraffe shared the following statement with Good Housekeeping:
"First of all, it's important to know that Sophie la Girafe [Sophie the Giraffe] is composed of 100 percent 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."