Sophie the Giraffe, a squeaky rubber teething toy, has become all the rage the past few years, despite a relatively steep price tag—Quartz noted in June its $24.99 cost compared with simpler teething toys that retail for less than $5. But Sophie's popularity may take a hit after some consumers report finding mold, per GoodHousekeeping.com. Pediatric dentist Dana Chianese, a mom of two young boys, says she promotes teething products (including Sophie the Giraffe) to parents of infants, but she recently noticed a weird smell emanating from her own, and when she sliced Sophie open, she made what the website calls an "absolutely horrifying" discovery. It was a "science experiment living inside," she reveals, adding, "It … hurts my heart" to know she let her own little boys gnaw on the giraffe.
Other complaints have filtered in about the giraffe's mold issue on Amazon and various baby forums, with some saying even a baby who drools a lot could spur mold growth inside the giraffe. Meanwhile, Valerie Williams rolls her eyes at the Scary Mommy blog: "If you don't want toys filled with mold, clean them." (Chianese, for her part, says she always meticulously followed directions on how to take care of the toy.) A spokeswoman from the company that makes the giraffe reiterates that tip in a statement to GoodHousekeeping.com, noting that cleaning how-tos should be "carefully respected" and that all efforts must be made to keep water out of the hole. (Parents, stay away from homeopathic teething products.)