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.