If you’re a parent, you might have seen the controversy with Sophie the Giraffe this week – the world famous chew toy, used by millions of teething babies, presenting with black mould all on the inside. The story went viral and sparked a hackathon of anxious parents slicing up the toys to see what was on the inside.
I first saw the story on fellow parent blogger @mylittlebabog’s snapchat, who sacrificed one of her three Sophies to check whether the story was true. She found… no mould on the inside.
I felt a bit for the company behind the giraffe as the story got share after share on social media. I know the toy to be a good one and a useful one for teething babies – but the damage has been done. Sales will go down. No doubt about that.
After the story was shared in a parenting blogger Facebook group I belong to, a thread was raised about bath toys having mould in them. I would never in a million years have thought about this as an issue, but it does make sense that enclosed toy environments that are often wet could easily grow mould.
Away with me up to investigate our own bath and armed with my Cif and cloth I set about cleaning, as normal.
Our daughter has a bathtime boat, with a number of toys in it. Almost all are plastic and apart from a bit of soap scum, looked pretty fine.
Then I turned my attention to the rubber duckies.
She has three duckies, bought, I would say two years ago. They have a hole in the bottom and a hole in the mouth and most of the craic at bathtime involves sucking water up into the bottom of the duck and spraying it back AT HER FACE.
I peered through the small hole in the bottom of the duckies.
All through the inside.
Obviously I threw the duckies straight in the bin, but I was annoyed that they had been living there, growing mould for two whole years.
If you haven’t checked your own toys, you really should.
Anything that has a small hole in it, that can let in moisture should be checked.
I’ve been reading since that mould is all around us and when diluted with bath water it’s very unlikely to be harmful.
But still – who wants to take that chance?
My final mould scare tip is to check your cupboards and presses for lemon juice. You know those Jif lemons you buy for Pancake Tuesday that might also sit there for years, especially if you tend to use fresh lemons in cooking?
A few weeks ago I made a lovely tagine dish (rare in this house) and as the recipe required lemon juice and I had none fresh, I hunted out the Jif lemon and added it at the end of cooking. I was surprised to see a stream of bluish gunk land in my perfectly prepared dish and rather alarmed I hacked open the plastic.
The sight will never leave my mind.
Check your Sophies. Check your rubber duckies. And stick to fresh lemons.
That’s the LadyNicci mouldometer advice.