During my pregnancy I heard nothing but wonderful things about Sophie The Giraffe; she was supposedly a God-send teething toy, loved by babies the world over. It struck me as a little odd that such a simple toy cost over $20.00 but so many other baby items appeared over priced to a new mom like me so I made a mental note to do more research on it before adding it to my list of things to buy.
Firstly I found out that this toy originated in France in the 1960's which is why the packaging has the words Sophie La Giraffe. According to this promotional site it gained popularity because prior to that time “toys were mostly fashioned off traditional farm animals such as pigs, cows and sheep or domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. Because Sophie was the first ‘exotic’ animal toy available, her popularity rapidly spread.” Another appealing aspect of this toy is that it is made out of 100% natural rubber which feels better on the gums of a teething baby as compared to all the hard plastic teethers out there.
This teeny rubber giraffe is currently so popular it is a top choice for all the celebrity babies. In fact it is safe to say Sophie is quite the celebrity too!
Sophie was even featured in the 1980's classic Three men and a baby
From all the reviews and comments I read, Sophie La Giraffe was hailed as queen of all teething toys because it combines 100% rubber with many ridges, bumps and uneven edges such as the face and legs of the giraffe that are soothing to sore teething gums. Best of all it makes a squeaking sound which is always a plus for babies.
As usual whenever I research a baby product I search for any recalls or negative reviews as well just to make sure I get a balanced view of the product and I was really disturbed by what I found. Many parents had reported that this posed a serious choking hazard that could lead to serious injury or even death. Let me explain how.
The legs of the Sophie La Giraffe are long and rubbery and according to their commercials, these legs are perfect for reaching molars all the way in the back of the mouth. This sounds like a good thing since most teethers are designed for the front teeth only, but here is the catch; Those legs are also the perfect length and shape to choke a baby by getting stuck in their throat. This is especially risky when a baby is lying down on their belly playing with Sophie and one of the legs gets stuck in the back of their mouth; they can't evencry out for help because their airway is blocked. Considering that this overpriced Giraffe costs more than four times the price of other teethers I felt they should have released an official response to the concerns out there. They did not. Instead they took a more subtle approach; the newer models of Sophie seem to have slightly shorter legs but they are still long enough to choke a baby!!
They did however release a newer safer Sophie La Giraffe teething ring. This still features the 100% rubber giraffe design but has the legs all fused together to prevent the possibility of a baby choking on an individual leg. Initially I didn't want to buy this product, especially after all the bad press and it cost about $15 which is still more than double the price of other teething rings but my daughter was inconsolable when she was teething so I decided to give it a try. They did have a vanilla flavored version which seemed a bit bizarre to me so I stuck with the plain one.
|Sophie teething ring drying on our grass rack by Boon|
Overall I am glad we gave the teething ring a chance and stayed clear of the original Sophie.