The teething process can present many challenges for parents. There’s the crying, the troubling sleeping, rejecting of food, etc.
Many parents, in an effort to soothe their child’s discomfort, decide to buy them a teething toy like the ever-popular Sophie the Giraffe. But you might be alarmed to learn that teething toys can present one fairly serious risk of their own – mold.
A mother by the name of Dana Chianese learned about the potential for mold in teething toys the hard way. According to TheSun.co.uk, Chianese noticed an unpleasant smell radiating from her child’s Sophie the Giraffe.
When she cut the toy open, she saw this.
As you can imagine, Chianese – who is a dentist – was horrified, particularly because she had been recommending the product to her clients.
Then came the grim realization that she wasn’t alone. Indeed, according to The Hearty Soul, numerous other parents have discovered black mold growing inside their child’s teething toy.
How does this happen?
Sophie the Giraffe toys have an air hole at the bottom which allows children to squeeze the toy. It also has a second, unwanted function – letting moisture in.
As one mom, Stephanie Oprea, wrote on Amazon, “if you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you’ll end up with [mold]!”
What’s the danger?
According to Dr. Ackerly, speaking with The Sun, black mold can release toxins that lead to severe allergies.
“Molds can produce toxins such as mycotoxins which are poisonous and which can cause allergic reactions in some people so it is best not consumed,” she said, adding, “particularly by babies.”
How can you prevent this?
Vulli – the company that manufactures Sophie the Giraffe – told the Daily Mail that the cleaning instructions included with the toy must be “carefully respected.”
“It’s important to know that [Sophie the Giraffe] is composed of 100 per cent natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected.”
“We recommend to clean the surface of [Sophie the Giraffe] 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.”
Dr. Ackerly recommends buying teething toys that you can dry out easily to avoid water becoming stale inside.