What's living inside your kid's Sophie the Giraffe toy?

Sophie the Giraffe mould
Sophie the Giraffe (Dana Chianese)

Parents are concerned after discovering a black mould growing inside a popular baby toy.

Mother Dana Chianese bought the popular Sophie the Giraffe model - often given to teething children by parents as a chew toy.

However she soon noticed a strong smell emanating from the figure, and cut into Sophie to find the offensive odour.

"I decided to cut into Sophie out of curiosity and discovered a science experiment living inside," she told Good Housekeeping magazine.

"Smelly, ugly mould living in my infant's favourite chew toy!"

Ms Chianese isn't the only parent to find something growing inside the toy.

In 2016, mother Stephanie Oprea posted similar photos of her child's Sophie the Giraffe riddled with mouldy growths.

"Beware! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mould! We've had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mould!" she wrote on Amazon.

And another owner posted a similar review complete with photos.

"Well, when we chopped the legs, it revealed a lot of mould growing inside!! Needless to say, Sophie is now residing at her new home at the dump," she said in horror.

However, experts say these parents may be overreacting to the mould.

"[T]he likelihood of a child getting sick from this is close to zero," New York Presbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center assistant professor of paediatrics Dr Lyuba Konopasek told Care.com.

And a spokesperson for Sophie the Giraffe's manufacturer says user error is to blame.

"Cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected," they told the Daily Mail.

"As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la giraffe [the toy's French name] 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."