Could your baby's favourite teether be a health risk?

Marie Claire Dorking
Could your child's teething toy be a health risk? [Photo: Getty]
Could your child’s teething toy be a health risk? [Photo: Getty]

Remember how upset the Internet was last year when parents cracked open their kids’ sippee cups to find them riddled with mould? Well prepare for mould gate part two because turns out your baby’s favourite teething toy might not be quite so hygienic either.

Sophie the Giraffe is loved by parents everywhere thanks to its uncanny ability to stop teething in its tracks, but some parents have recently reported finding mould growing inside the cute toys.

Dana Chianese is one such parent. Having noticed a musty smell coming from the inside of the teether, the paediatric dentist decided to cut into it to find out what was causing it and was horrified to find “a science experiment living inside.”

“Smelly, ugly mould living in my infant’s favourite chew toy!” the mum-of-two told Good Housekeeping.

“It still hurts my heart to know that for months I allowed my babies to chew on mouldy toys,” she says. “I no longer buy any chew toys with a hole or recommend any to my patients.”

And she isn’t the only one to have noticed the problem. A mum recently posted a review to Amazon alerting other parents to the mouldy inside of her child’s own Sophie, while a user on What to Expect also shared picture of the mouldy teething toy.

It is important to clean and sterilise teething toys regularly to prevent mould [Photo: Getty]
It is important to clean and sterilise teething toys regularly to prevent mould [Photo: Getty]

But should we really be surprised that a toy, which babies are going to suck and therefore dribble over, is going to cause mould to grow in the enclosed space inside?

Vuilli, the Sophie The Giraffe manufacturer told The Huffington Post UK that these type of incidents may occur when the cleaning instructions have not been followed.

“It’s important to know that Sophie The Giraffe is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected,” the company stated.

The statement continued: “As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie The Giraffe 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. We thus would like to emphasise on the fact that it is important, while cleaning the product, that no water gets inside the hole.”

The spokesperson explained that because the company has not been contacted by the two customers who have shared photos of the mould, it is difficult for them to comment on the current situation as the products have not been examined.

“Please know that each complaint received is taken very seriously and that the return of the product is always asked for further examination,” the statement continued.

“Furthermore, please know that the safety of children and satisfaction of their parents is our main priority.”

So how should you clean Sophie? The instructions state you should:

“Wipe Sophie clean with a damp cloth – use Milton or other fluid on the cloth if you wish to sterilise. Please do not submerge Sophie in water as it enters the squeaker and she’ll stop squeaking, and she is not able to go in a microwave or steam steriliser.”

And there are some other easy ways to keep plastic toys clean and help prevent them becoming a potential health risk to bubbas.

According to the Dettol website one of the safest and most hygienic ways to clean baby toys is either in soft soapy water or in the dishwasher. “Small plastic toys that don’t have batteries can be placed in your dishwasher,” the site states. “With a little detergent and hot water, your toys will be both cleaned and sanitised.”

The Milton website also recommends regularly disinfecting plastic toys and teethers in a Milton sterilising solution.

So let’s vow to keep Sophie as clean as possible so she can continue to be our go-to soother. Because a teething baby without Sophie doesn’t bear thinking about.

Have you ever found mould in any of your baby’s toys? Let us know @YahooStyleUK

The ‘push present’ trend: Should women be rewarded for giving birth?

When’s the best month to have a baby?