If you’ve had a baby any time in the last decade or so you are probably well-acquainted with the must-have teething toy named Sophie the Giraffe. Back in 2009, the Los Angeles Times named the toy the “status teether” as parents everywhere added the rubber giraffe to their baby shower registries. But, as many parents are now finding out - drool plus a hard to clean toy equals a moldy giraffe.
Good Housekeeping reports about parents who were not too happy to make the discovery of mold inside their baby’s $30 teething toy. Mom and pediatric dentist Dana Chianese has recommended Sophie Giraffe to parents of teething toddlers and babies. But recently, after cleaning the toy according to the instructions it came with, she noticed it still smelled musty. After cutting into Sophie, Chianese was alarmed to see mold growing inside the toy. She says, “I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside. Smelly, ugly mold living in my infant's favorite chew toy!”
Other parents have also sent out online warning about how mold can easily grow inside the hollowed out rubber toy. Mom, Stephanie Opera, reviewed the toy on Amazon and filled parents in on her experience with Sophie. Opera writes, “Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mold! We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mold!”
Okay, so mold may look gross and has a pretty bad reputation for making people sick - but will it really hurt your baby to chew on this toy? It seems that the answer to this is both yes and no. If your child’s immune system is compromised or has an allergy to mold, it is probably best to steer clear of toys that are hard to clean. Dr. Lyuba Konopasek, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, explains that usually exposure to mold in a chew toy is no biggie for a baby. I mean, when you think about the things many kids put in their mouths, a lot of moms would agree that Sophie doesn’t seem like the worst thing to add to the mix. But Dr. Konopasek warns that if your child appears to be coughing and has itchy eyes when playing with certain toys, they may have an allergy to mold and should be kept away.
What do you think of the recent reports from parents that Sophie the Giraffe can get moldy easily?
Would this information stop you from purchasing Sophie the Giraffe or other teethers like this for your child or as a gift?
I didn't know about this particular toy, but I remember reading about similarly made toys years ago. This does not just affect teething toys. I had never thought of mold growing inside all the rubber squeaky bath toys that my children used then (and were always putting in their mouths). I always washed them afterwards, squeezed the water out, let them dry. However, inside them, mold had opportunity to grow. After reading the article back then, I cut one of the toys open. Sure enough, there was nasty black mold. I was so disgusted with myself for not realizing this potential problem, had no way to clean the toys on the inside. I threw all those types of toys away. I replaced them with safe bath toys that didn't get water inside of them.