The world’s favorite teething toy for babies, Sophie the Giraffe, is in hot water. Parents are outraged after a number of reports of black mold growing inside poor Sophie have surfaced online.
Dana Chianese, a pediatric dentist from New Jersey, told Good Housekeeping that she always recommended the beloved toy to parents—her own sons have one—until last month when she noticed that the air coming out of its small hole smelled musty.
“I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," Chianese told Good Housekeeping. "Smelly, ugly mold living in my infant's favorite chew toy!"
Although Sophie's instructions clearly state to avoid submerging her in water, moisture is hard to avoid when infant saliva is involved.
Chianese says she always cleaned the toy according to instructions, using hot, soapy water with a damp sponge and never submerging it into water. "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."
It seems Chianese isn’t alone. As news of the mold goes around, parents have flooded Amazon with photos and stories of their own dissected Sophies. One user writes, “"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!"
So parents, if there’s a Sophie in your house, you may want to consider giving her a thorough checkup. Southern Living reached out to Vulli, the company behind Sophie, for comment, but did not immediately hear back.