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PHOTO: Parents Find Tons of Mold in Sophie the Giraffe

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.

1484262304 giraffe mold PHOTO: Parents Find Tons of Mold in Sophie 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.)

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