What baby doesn't love to bring their squeaky toys in the bath with them? Or, even better, putting their beloved play things in their mouths to drool over? It's basically their favorite pastime... but is it safe? After recent news that the popular French toy Sophie the Giraffe was reportedly full of black mold, many parents are worried about how to prevent toys from getting moldy. Because it's not exactly easy to keep babies from putting everything in their mouths.
Pediatric dentist and mom Dana Chianese recently noticed a musty smell emanating from her kids' Sophie the Giraffe after bath time. She sliced poor Sophie open, and discovered the toy was full of black mold. Chianese was horrified; as a pediatric dentist, she told Good Housekeeping that she frequently recommends teething toys as a relief from painful gums to her infant patients. And the sweet-faced little Sophie the Giraffe was no exception. She told the media outlet that she always cleans the plastic toy with hot, soapy water and a damp sponge, but it didn't stop the mold from growing.
It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on moldy toys. I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients.
In an email to Romper, a Sophie the Giraffe spokesperson reiterated the statement previously given to Good Housekeeping. "It's an isolated issue it's probably due to improper storage and improper care of the product," they said.
After Chianese shared her pictures of Sophie the Giraffe on social media, other mothers chimed in. The France-based toymaker Vulli released a statement via email after the internet lit up with images of their beloved toy sliced open and filled with black mold, explaining that the toy was made of 100 percent rubber and should never be fully submerged under water:
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.
So how do you keep your baby's toys free of mold? First of all, it's a good idea to make sure any toys your baby might be bringing into the tub are meant for the tub; if there are any small holes, just apply a dab of hot glue over the opening to prevent water from getting in. Today's Parent also recommends using other household items like measuring cups and strainers in the tub. It's also important to keep bath toys clean; while mold is generally not dangerous (particularly in relatively small doses, although it is pretty gross), you still want to wash baby's toys at least once a week with a hot, soapy sponge and then allow to air dry.
Anything you can do to keep a baby happy and healthy is totally worth the effort, right?