Model Lara Worthington has hit out at the makers of Sophie the Giraffe after mothers have claimed to discover mould inside the rubber teething toy.
The 29-year-old mum of two shared a screenshot image of a photo of the inside of the toy – which was covered in mould.
“Bath toys with holes in them are not safe,” she wrote.
Since reports that Sophie the Giraffe hides dangerous mould inside its frame first surfaced on social media, parents have been throwing the rubber animals away in panic.
For those who missed the hoopla, Sophie is a French giraffe toy that became an international star after beginning its retail life in high-end baby boutiques before being made available around the world. It retails in Australia for $20-$30, depending on where you purchase it from.
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However, Sophie the Giraffe has fallen from grace after US dentist Dana Chianese posted photos of her child's giraffe filled with dangerous black mould, prompting other parents to investigate their own toys to find similar results.
Chianese told Good Housekeeping that when she cut the toy open it began to smell.
"I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," she said. "Smelly, ugly mould living in my infant's favourite chew toy!"
Some Sophie the Giraffe toys, however, have been sacrificed in vain, with no mould at all. One toy giraffe was chopped up by Sydney mum Erin Lindeberg this week, only to discover it was clean as a whistle.
The mould problem with Sophie the Giraffe seems to come from excessive moisture entering the frame of the rubber toy via a tiny air hole. If your child is an excessive dribbler, or if you allow your child to use Sophie as a bath toy, for example, you will likely end up with mould.
While Erin says she's not normally overly concerned by posts like the ones about Sophie the Giraffe, she did wonder if her daughter's toy was similarly affected.
"I didn't think too much of it." she told Mamamia. "I see lots of things on social media that I try not to think too much about. I did cut it with scissors but only because I was throwing it out anyway. It was one of those toys that just kept getting pushed to the back of the toy box because my daughter is to old for it now."
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But remembering how much daughter Lacey, now two, treasured it from the age of two-months until eight-months, she was curious.
Importantly, Erin never brought Sophie into the bath.
Erin says she prefers to use "common sense" when it comes to these things, saying Sophie the Giraffe was a great toy for her daughter.
"Don't believe everything you read or see and use things as they are intended," Erin says.
We wish to remind our customers of the simple steps to clean Sophie la girafe.
It’s important to know that Sophie la girafe is made from 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully followed. As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la girafe with a damp cloth. It should not be immersed in water, sterilised in a steam steriliser, or rinsed off, in order to prevent water from getting inside and causing damage to Sophie la girafe. We thus would like to emphasise the fact that is it important, while cleaning the product, that no water gets inside the hole.
If you do have Sophie the Giraffe in your home and believe it has been exposed to excessive moisture, give it a sniff test or throw it away. Keep it dry and out of the bath and your child can continue to enjoy their favourite toy.
That goes for all toys with an air hole - ensure they are kept dry as much as possible.