So I was recently contacted by Pyrelle, the sole local representative for Vulli, the manufacturer of Sophie la girafe© in Southern Africa.
This came after I voiced my concerns about the hygiene safety of the popular teether, at a baby boutique launch the other night, and the store subsequently removing the toy from its shelves.
I am not here to badmouth any product I have never had my kids use before and therefore have no personal experiences with, good or bad. I am however here to make sure moms are kept informed in order to make informed decisions when it comes to their precious little ones.
If you feel you want to get your child the beloved Sophie la Giraffe, then, by all means go for it! But, be sure to read the handling instructions carefully. Here’s why the brand’s distributor says it’s important to do so:
Based on the assessment made by the Sophie la girafe quality department, they say that “it is not possible that saliva could cause the type of mould formation shown in the pictures that went viral a few weeks ago.
Internal studies have been conducted and indicated that it is improbable that saliva can transform into mould. It seems that the inside body of the giraffe is still wet, which leads us to believe that there was presence of water inside the giraffe, which caused the mould. This situation is often seen with bath toys. We can furthermore assert that this situation occurred after the product was purchased. Therefore, it is important to be careful while cleaning the toy to ensure that no water gets inside the giraffe.”
Following the articles published in the US and the rumours that quickly spread on the internet, the BBC in the UK, some major TV and radios in the Netherlands and the US Today TV show all researched this mould issue in Sophie.
They have interviewed various specialists in their countries and physicians specialising on the immune system. Those specialists doctors explained that fungus is actually everywhere, it flies in the air. It is in everyone’s mouth and in any baby drool!
The immune system specialists said parents should really not throw away or cut open their Sophie as it would be such a trauma for a baby to have their favourite toy taken away from them!
Dr. Ferda Arca-Sedda, PhD from University of Pierre & Marie Curie provided the following statement “Sophie la girafe is safe, it is unlikely that the mould growing inside Sophie is coming from saliva. It is known that saliva is acidic and contains several enzymes like amylase, pepsin, lipase that play a significant role in breaking down food particles. In addition, saliva contains antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal enzymes that kill bacteria, fungus or other microbes. The mould inside comes from submerging Sophie in water and not saliva.”
As you know, Sophie la girafe is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected. As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la girafe with a damp cloth. It should not be immersed in water nor rinsed off, to prevent water from getting inside, as she may become damaged.
We would like to emphasise that it is important, while cleaning the product, not to get water inside the hole.
Additionally, Sophie is intended for use by only one child. We have also seen pictures of people altering the toy by cutting its legs to change the toy’s design. This a big NO!!! This is then considered damaged and unsafe. Sophie is designed especially for the safety of the child and complies with all worldwide safety standards. Sophie can’t go in the microwave to be sterilised, it is not a bath toy, harsh detergents shouldn’t be used. As usual with babies, this toy must be used only under adult supervision.
We have had many parents sharing their disappointment with us because they have been lured into cutting their Sophie open only to find no mould inside. They now have to buy a new one because their child loves Sophie. Rather frustrating! The safety of children and satisfaction of their parents is the manufacturer’s main priority. For the past 55 years, they have always strived to exceed security standards and all of our products comply with the most stringent global standards.
Pyrelle also invite you to watch and share our video to see how Sophie is made, here.