If you know someone with an infant, you've probably seen Sophie the Giraffe. It's all the rage among moms who rave on YouTube about this little giraffe.
But is the hottest toy for teething tots dangerous? After one mom posted pictures of her child's giraffe filled with mold when she cut it open, other Amazon reviewers chimed in saying they'd seen the same and some parents scrapped Sophie. Now, many others are asking, "Is my child safe?"
"I think the main issue here is the gross factor," said Dr. Joseph Hagan, a Burlington pediatrician.
Hagan says parents shouldn't panic. He says this is not black mold, which is dangerous. That kind of mold won't grow on rubber like Sophie. This, he says, is more like something you'd find in the bathtub-- gross, but not worth cutting up or tossing out a $20 toy.
"Mold sensitivity, mold allergy, is not terribly rare but it's rarely significant. It rarely has life-threatening consequences to it," Hagan said.
Sophie comes with cleaning instructions which say to wipe it with a damp cloth and not to immerse the giraffe in water. But Dr. Hagan says it's not something parents should stress over.
"I think it's good to dry Sophie off if Sophie gets wet, but I certainly wouldn't chase Sophie around all day with a dish towel. I probably would not use Sophie as a bath toy. And I wouldn't worry too much about the rubber ducky either," Hagan said.
He says the toy is safe for teething and he's not worried about any Sophies in his practice.
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