Popular teething toy might be full of mold - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Popular teething toy might be full of mold

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With reports of mold found in a popular teething toy, many parents are wondering: How can I protect my child?

Several parents have reported finding mold growing inside of their child's Sophie the Giraffe teething toy. The toy, which is made of 100% natural rubber, has a small hole, which the manufacturer stresses should never be submerged in water or get wet.

And while a few concerning photos show what appears to be black mold inside of the teething toy, parents don't need to panic, Jean Moorjani a pediatrician at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children said.

"The good news is while the mold looks yucky and is distressful, for most healthy kids the mold itself doesn't pose a bad health effect," Moorjani said.

She said parents with children who have weakened immune systems or allergies to mold may notice adverse health effects and seek treatment, but for the most part healthy kids won't be affected by mold.

Moorjani said parents should wash anything that goes into their child's mouth with hot soapy water or create their own disinfectant solution by mixing 1 cup of bleach with a gallon of water.

Pediatric dentist Dana Chianese told Good Housekeeping that she always followed the directions when cleaning her child's Sophie the Giraffe and only used a damp cloth and soapy water.

"It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on moldy toys," she told Good Housekeeping. "I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients."

Another parent questioned whether if it's inevitable that liquid will get into the hole since babies use the toy for teething.

Stephanie Oprea posted a photo on Amazon of her child's Sophie the Giraffe toy, which appeared to be full of mold.

"Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole, and you'll end up with mold," Oprea said in a review of the product. "We've had ours for two years, and the entire inside is coated with black mold."

Laurie Schraenen, a spokeswoman for Vulli, the company that makes Sophie the Giraffe, said in a statement that the company had not received a formal complaint from Chianese or Opera.

She said the quality department assessed photos that the women provided to media outlets and concluded that: "It is not possible that saliva could cause the type of mold formation shown in the pictures."

"Internal studies have been conducted and indicated that it is improbable (or in really rare cases) that saliva can transform into mold," according to a statement provided by Schraenen.

According to the quality team, the photos appear to show that "there was the presence of water inside the giraffe that can have caused the mold. This situation is often seen with bath toys."

For parents worried about mold in their children's toys, Moorjani notes that mold many times comes with the territory. She points to outrage last year over mold found in Tommee Tippee sippy cups.

"The tricky thing is figuring out if there's mold, this happens to bath toys as well because sometimes there is a little hole in it, so any place that can let air or moisture in that is a breeding ground for mold," she said. "Things like teething toys, bath toys, any toys that babies put in their mouth may have mold."

Moorjani said that parents should throw away any toys that have mold.

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