This article originally appeared on Yahoo Parenting and was reprinted with permission.
A mother whose six-month-old daughter started choking on a popular teething toy posted about the incident online, and the cautionary tale is going viral on Facebook.
Katie Jones, a mom in the UK, posted earlier this month that her daughter, Paige, was happily chewing on Sophie the Giraffe, the popular rubber teether, when she quickly stepped away to grab something from the kitchen. “On my return I realized [Paige] had become quiet and lifeless,” Jones writes. “When I checked on Paige she was turning blue. Paige had got the whole of one of Sophie’s legs lodged down her throat. I had to unhook it free and pull out the leg from the back of her throat.”
Jones was able to dislodge the toy from her daughter’s throat, but says the incident was terrifying. “I gave some firm pats on my daughter’s back and this made her throw up and take a breath… Poor Paige was too young to remove the leg herself and would have suffocated if I hadn’t realized.”
Paige is doing fine now, and Jones writes that she shared the story to warn other parents. “I wish for this post to simply make parents aware of a danger I didn’t think could happen,” she writes. “I’m shocked. Now looking at Sophie I realize how long the legs are and how dangerous this could potentially be to babies who love to chew. … Don’t leave your child unattended with this teether.”
The post, which was originally shared on July 9, picked up steam over the weekend and has been shared more than 2,100 times on Facebook.
Jones did not respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment.
Parenting expert and family physician Dr. Deborah Gilboa says that parents should beware of any toy that can extend more than an inch into a child’s mouth. “Kids have different depths to their throats, and parents likely wouldn’t know that, so a guideline should be to make sure all pieces of the toy are less than an inch long and that a child can’t bite any of them off,” she tells Yahoo Parenting.
Sophie the Giraffe, which is 7-inches high total, has legs that are 2 to 3 inches long, which, according to Gilboa’s guidelines, qualify it as a potential choking hazard.
In an email to Yahoo Parenting, Calisson Inc., the U.S. distributor of Sophie the Giraffe, said Sophie is not a choking hazard. “Sophie the giraffe complies with all U.S and European safety standards for children for over 50 years and is a wonderful toy,” they said.
In response to Jones’s Facebook post, a few people commented that they had heard of similar incidents occurring with other children. Plenty of parents said that they would hold off giving their kids a Sophie toy after hearing of the incident.
But some moms and dads don’t want to part with Sophie’s French-made natural rubber, which parenting bloggers have hailed since 2007, when Mattel recalled 20 million toys made in China due to lead-based paint.
One mom and commenter on Jones’s post seems to have found the solution: “They now make a mini Sophie teething ring,” she writes. “Made of the exact same rubber. [My son] loves it and there’s nothing to choke on!”
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