Parents have found mould growing inside their children's Sophie the Giraffe toys – and they've been warning others of the health dangers. One concerned mum Dana Chianese, a paediatric dentist, used to recommend the chew toys to fellow parents, but she no longer does after discovering that her child's toy was a breeding ground for mould.
A month ago Dana noticed an unsavoury smell coming from a hole in the toy. She proceeded to clean it but then decided to cut it open out of curiosity.
What she discovered was "a science experiment living inside," Dana told Goodhousekeeping.com. "Smelly, ugly mould living in my infant's favourite chew toy!"
One mum found "a science experiment living inside" her child's toy
"It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on mouldy toys," she said. "I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients."
Dana followed the toy's instructions and cleaned the giraffe using hot, soapy water with a damp sponge and never submerging it in water.
Fellow mum Stephanie Oprea found the same problem with her child's toy and left a warning message to other parents on Amazon. "Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mould! We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mould!" she wrote in the toy's review section.
"We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mould," another mum warned
Laurie Schraenen, a spokeswoman for Sophie the Giraffe, has responded to the reports, highlighting the importance of cleaning the teething toy.
Her statement read: "First of all, it's important to know that Sophie la Girafe [Sophie the Giraffe] is composed of 100 per cent 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 emphasise on the fact that is it important, while cleaning the product, that no water gets inside the whole."
The statement went on to say that the company has not been contacted by Mrs. Chianese or Mrs. Opera, but that each complaint received is taken very seriously. It concluded: "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."