Your Baby’s Sophie The Giraffe Teething Toy Could Be Filled With Mold

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Sophie the Giraffe has been an extremely popular teething toy over the past several years. Just try to find a baby registry that doesn’t include one! But this little rubber creature can come with a dark side: Parents have reported discovering mold inside the toy.

Pediatric dentist Dana Chianese was cleaning her son’s teething toy when she discovered a musty smell, she told GoodHousekeeping. It was then that she decided to cut open the toy, only to discover some smelly mold living inside of it.

Despite cleaning Sophie according to the instructions (using hot, soapy water with a damp sponge and never submerging it into water), Chianese found the teething toy to be covered with mold.

And she was not alone. Users on both Amazon and What To Expect reported the same thing, posting photos of their own. Amazon user Stephanie Oprea wrote:

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!

Amazon/Stephanie Oprea

As a parent, it can be frightening to think of your child sucking on an object with mold that could possibly lead to adverse side effects such as respiratory issues, itchy eyes or skin reactions.

Good Housekeeping reached out to the manufacturer, who issued this statement, reiterating the importance of following the product’s specific cleaning instructions:

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.

So if your child has a Sophie toy, be sure to follow these cleaning instructions and never submerge the toy in water. If you’re totally freaked and opt to slice yours open, but have a little one who adores their Sophie, you might want to replace it with this Sophie teething ring — no pesky holes in this one to trap water and mold.

It should also be noted that this mold issue is by no means a singular Sophie problem. If you’ve ever noticed discoloration that appears to be on the inside of a rubber duckie bath toy, for example, it’s likely mold caused by water that gets trapped on the inside. (One clever way to avoid that? Try sealing the hole on the bottom before the rubber duck is ever used in order to prevent water from getting inside.)

If you are game to try cleaning affected bath toys, you can try using vinegar or diluted bleach. Regular cleanings will help to prevent mold from forming in the first place, so it’s not a bad idea to add bath toys to the list of regularly cleaned items around your home.