Buyer Beware: Mold May Grow Inside Sophie the Giraffe Toddler Teething Toy
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Buyer Beware: Mold May Grow Inside Sophie the Giraffe Toddler Teething Toy

Several parents have reported finding mold growing inside their child's toy

January 16, 2017

Parents of toddlers in pain from teething are always glad to find toys that can reduce their child's pain, but Sophie the Giraffe is one teething toy they may want to avoid.

Several parents have recently reported finding mold growing inside the popular toy. One such parent is pediatric dentist Dana Chianese, who often recommends teething toys to anxious parents. One such item that she used to recommend is Sophie the Giraffe, a toy that her own sons prefer.

One month ago, however, she decided to clean Sophie after she noticed musty-smelling air coming out of a hole in the toy. She was alarmed by what she found.

"I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," Chianese told "Smelly, ugly mold living in my infant's favorite chew toy!"

Chianese claims that she always followed the instructions provided with the toy when cleaning it: use hot, soapy water and a damp sponge, and never submerge Sophie underwater. She was disgusted that mold still grew inside her children's toy even when she cleaned it properly.

"It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on moldy toys," she says. "I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients."

Amazon user Stephanie Opera also discovered mold in her child's Sophie toy and wrote a review to warn other parents.

"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," she wrote.

According to Dr. Lyuba Konopasek, an assistant professor of pediatrics at New York Presbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center, parents do not need to be very concerned about exposing children to mold in their toys unless the child has an immune disorder. However, children who are allergic to mold may experience such symptoms as coughing or itchy eyes.

This may not reassure everyone, however, and these parents will want a way to prevent their child from being exposed to mold. Fortunately, Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab Director Carolyn Forte has a solution.

"The only way to prevent mold inside plastic toys is to make sure they are cleaned and thoroughly dried," she says.

It is best to use hot, sudsy water or a dishwasher to clean washable plastic toys. After this, parents can soak the toy in a disinfectant solution of 1/2 cup Clorox bleach per one gallon of water, then rinse it and leave it to air dry.

How often the toy should be cleaned depends on how often it is used. Forte recommends cleaning toys used daily at least once per week.

When cleaning the toys, do not allow them to sit in water or leave them to dry when there is still water inside.