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Your child’s ‘Sophie the Giraffe’ toy might be filled with mold, parents warn

NEW YORK — Reports of mold found inside of "Sophie the Giraffe" teething toys are once again circulating on social media — causing many parents to worry.

According to GoodHouseKeeping.com, pediatric dentist Dana Chianese said she was cleaning a Sophie the Giraffe toy last month when she noticed something smelly coming from a hole on the toy.

sofie-giraffeThe mother said she decided to cut it open and found what resembled a "science experiment" – disgusting mold coating the inside of the toy her child had just been teething on.

The toy is made by French company Vulli, and comes with a warning that the giraffe can be damaged if fully submerged in water. The company recommends that it should only be cleaned with a damp cloth and soapy water.

Chianese told Good Housekeeping she followed these directions. But many parents agree it's not always easy to keep moisture from getting into the toy. And she's not the only one who has found the mold.

In 2016, a parent named Stephanie Oprea, posted to Amazon a photo of her child’s Sophie the Giraffe toy, which appeared to be full of mold.

“Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole, and you'll end up with mold,” Oprea said in a review of the product. “We've had ours for two years, and the entire inside is coated with black mold.”

Also, on What to Expect, a user said she cut the legs off the giraffe after hearing reports of them getting caught in babies' throats. But what she discovered made her cringe.

I, like many bought into the whole Sophie Giraffe craze. I had read a story about her legs getting caught in the throats of some babies recently, and it scared me a bit, since my daughter LOVES chewing on the legs. My DH and I thought we'd be smart and cut the legs, so they weren't so long...Afterall, she's a $30 toy, we didn't want to just throw her out. Well, when we chopped the legs, it revealed a lot of mold growing inside!! Needless to say, Sophie is now residing at her new home at the dump. Just a little heads up to other moms who have this toy. Sorry my photography isn't great, but you can clearly see the mold.

So what can be done to prevent this?

The director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute says to make sure the toys are cleaned with hot sudsy water and completely dried. They can also be disinfected with a solution of 1/2 cup Clorox bleach per gallon of water. Soak them for five minutes, rinse and air dry.

Good Housekeeping recently received a statement from Laurie Schraenen, a spokeswoman for Sophie the Giraffe:

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 whole. As of now, we have not been contacted by Mrs. Chianese nor Mrs. Opera 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.