Many parents have been horrified to hear that a popular children's teething toy, Sophie the Giraffe, may contain mold inside of it. After reports of toys with mold growing in them, some have vowed to get rid of their Sophie the Giraffe toys and give their teething infants something cleaner. But since these teething toys are among the more expensive rubber animals, running around $25 a pop, parents are wondering, can you return your Sophie the Giraffe toy if it has mold inside of it? So far, the company has not officially said yes.
A woman, Dana Chianese, told Good Housekeeping that she noticed a musty smell in her son's giraffe, and decided to cut into it, only to find the insides coated in mold. She wasn't the only one — the magazine also found an Amazon review warning of the same issue, as well as a user on What To Expect. Parents commenced freaking out at the gross pictures, although it is important to note that the mold may not actually cause a significant health risk unless a child has a mold allergy, according to what Dr. Lyuba Konopasek, an associate professor of pediatrics at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, told Care.com.
As of now, the company that manufactures the toy has not made an official statement about refunding returns, and has implied that the mold (which has only been reported by a few parents) may be due to improper care of the toy.
In a statement to Good Housekeeping, a spokesperson for Sophie the Giraffe said,
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 hole. As of now, we have not been contacted by Mrs. Chianese … and were not aware of the situation before reading your article. It is thus difficult for us to comment on the current situation, as we haven't had the chance to examine the products.
Please know that each complaint received is taken very seriously and that the return of the product is always asked for further examination. Furthermore, please know that the safety of children and satisfaction of their parents is our main priority. For the past 55 years, we have always strived to exceed security standards and all of our products comply with the most stringent global standards.
And in an email to Romper, a spokesperson reiterated the statement given to Good Housekeeping, and added, "It's an isolated issue, it's probably due to improper storage and improper care of the product."
(Chianese told Good Housekeeping that she always cleaned the toy according to the instructions.)
Although there doesn't seem to be any official statement on returns yet, you can try contacting the company on an individual basis by using the contact form on its website. Perhaps they will be willing to refund you.
We'll have to wait and see what happens if outrage, like the mold, continues to grow.