Disturbing reports have recently surfaced regarding a popular children’s teething toy – Sophie the Giraffe. This toy has been sold throughout the world for more than 50 years – totaling more than 50 million sold. Sophie is a rubber toy created with latex from Heavea trees, which is 100% natural. The toy features a shape that allows for children to use while teething – reaching even the back teeth to battle discomfort. Unfortunately, complaints have been pouring in after parents have identified mold within Sophie. This is especially alarming because Sophie is meant to be a toy children place in their mouths.
The hype about this mold issue began when a pediatric dentist from New Jersey noticed that her son’s Sophie the Giraffe toy smelled strange. She cut the toy open and was surprised to find mold inside. Experts believe the cause of mold growth within Sophie can be attributed to an air hole in the bottom of the toy, which allows children to squeeze it. The mother posted photos of the mold online, which prompted other parents to cut into their own Sophie toys, finding the same problem.
A spokesperson for the company says it’s important that parents follow the cleaning instructions that are included with the toy. The best way to clean washable plastic toys is in hot, sudsy water or in the dish washer. The only way to prevent mold in plastic toys is to make sure they are clean and thoroughly dried. Then, disinfect them with a solution of half a cup of bleach per gallon of water. Soak toys for five minutes, rinse and air dry thoroughly.
Can Mold Exposure Injure My Child?
No recall has been announced for Sophie the Giraffe and no reported illnesses have been directly tied to the mold issue. Fortunately, mold is not known to cause serious illness or injury. Some people are allergic to mold, so they may have harsher reactions – but it is unusual for life-threatening issues to result from mold exposure. Those with immune illnesses can experience serious infections if exposed to mold, so those individuals are the most at-risk.
What Should I Do About Moldy Toys?
Any sign of mold in toys, including Sophie, should be reported at saferproduct.gov. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission will investigate reports to determine what action should be taken. And if you find mold inside a toy, cease use immediately. Even if you clean it well, it’s still not a good idea to allow your child to use it again. There’s no real way to get rid of mold entirely from the inside of a toy.
For more information about product defects and recalls, call Jones & Swanson today at 770-427-5498.