Sophie the Giraffe is well-known in many households across America. Sophie is a teething toy, one of many toys designed for infants to chew while teething. These toys are designed to soothe inflamed gums and give the child an outlet for the need to chew other items during this important developmental phase.
Sophie, as with many toys of this type, has a hollow center, to allow compression of the soft exterior. Unfortunately, toys of this nature can build up bacteria in the center, exposing the child to the risk of disease. But another, potentially more insidious, risk lies in the heart of these toys. Because they are designed to be placed in the child’s mouth, these types of toys are exposed to significant moisture, and moisture is a key component in the development of mold. Manufacturers issue cleaning guidelines along with these toys so that parents know how to prevent the development of mold and remove bacteria, minimizing the risk of illness.
But a dentist in Miami who followed the cleaning guidelines recently discovered that her infant’s Sophie had still developed black mold and that her child might have been exposed to this mold for months. Mold exposure can lead to a variety of chronic health conditions in children, including:
- Damage to the parts of the brain responsible for memory formation
- Lung fibrosis
- Lung and intestinal cancers
Infant teething toys have a history of developing mold, and some manufacturers have been more upfront with parents and more willing to take responsibility for the health risks associated with exposures caused by their products.
If your child is suffering from symptoms consistent with mold respiratory illness, determining the source of the exposure is key. It is of absolute importance that you discontinue the exposure immediately, something which can only be done by finding the cause. Toys are a good place to look, as are walls that have been exposed to moisture. And, if your child was exposed to mold as a consequence of another party’s negligence, holding that party accountable is important. The long-term health consequences can be severe (and expensive). Contact an experienced attorney to help you determine whether or not another party was responsible for your child’s health issues.