"She became convinced the pictures of cats on her walls were watching her and believed the oscillating fan and dresser in her room were alive."
If you have children between the ages of five and 12 years old, you've probably heard of (or maybe even own several) the popular 'squishies' toys.
They were considered a convenient Christmas stocking filler and are in a great many family homes around the world.
One US-based mum has recently shared a post which at first seems very alarming.
"She started having what I believe were hallucinations or delusions"
She said her eight-year-old daughter had received some of the popular toys for Christmas and purchased more shortly afterwards.
The young girl played with them in the evening and slept with them in her bed.
"Within a day of acquiring them she started having nightmares and disrupted sleep," Michelle wrote in her post.
"On the 4th day she started having what I believe were hallucinations or delusions. She became convinced the pictures of cats on her walls were watching her and believed the oscillating fan and dresser in her room were alive.
Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.
"She stared at me as I was sitting with her in her room and insisted my nose was moving around my face. She was very anxious and distressed, unable to fall asleep until she came to sleep in our room with us."
As any parent can imagine, such behaviour would be heartbreaking to witness.
Michelle then quoted a June, 2018 statement from the Ministry of Environment and Food in Denmark that claimed all of the 12 squishies tested "contained high levels of harmful chemicals." The statement reported the toys would be withdrawn from the market, calling for the toys industry to act.
As a result, Michelle removed the toys and aired out the house.
"We rounded up all the squishies, sequestered them in a garbage bag and aired out the house. The following night she was better, but she's still not completely back to normal a week later," wrote Michelle.
The concerned mum called on other parents to avoid purchasing squishies, adding, "And if you're not already, be very suspicious of toys that have strange colours, textures, or smells. I found out the hard way - Big Toy doesn't care about your kids."
Squishies are a popular toy among kids. Image: iStock.
"No final conclusions have yet been reached"
Despite the concerning story, Snopes.com has also shared Michelle's post and clarified some information.
Referring to a report released in Danish , Snopes.com quoted Minister for Environment and Food, Ellemann-Jensen as stating: "no final conclusions have yet been reached" regarding the sale of the foam toys in Denmark, indicating that no recall effort had yet been implemented.
By acknowledging small improvements in behaviour you make it easier for big improvements to follow.
All the 12 squishies tested by the Danish EPA reportedly contained dimethylformamide, styrene and toluene. These chemicals have been known to "impair fertility, act as carcinogens, cause liver damage, and irritate the mucous membrane or eyes."
It is unknown as to whether or not the popular toys will be recalled in Denmark or internationally at this point, or whether or not the strange symptoms reported by Michelle are linked to the toys, but the report's findings should be considered before purchasing such toys for your children.
Am I being too hard? : Parenting
"This situation doesn't surprise me"
We asked Dr Sam Hay for his comment and he commented, "This situation doesn't surprise me at all - have you smelt those things!? Clearly not natural."
"I think we need to take notice of what the Danes have found and be very careful of these squishies," he told Kidspot.
"On one hand the chemicals used to make the squishie, or the pungent odour, could be directly toxic and harmful. Issues could range from tummy upsets, sleeping problems, or nightmares, to long term cancer risk (although playing with them for a while is very unlikely to increase cancer risk for your kids down the track)."
Positive, or authoritative, parents value mutual respect and being a good listener.
Dr Sam also pointed out that some kids could simply be sensitive to the chemical smell typical to such toys, and an allergic reaction could affect their sleep.
"Lastly, perhaps this poor child has simply been freaked out by having dozens of weird little creatures in their bed?" he added.
"Too many toys leads to overstimulation and poor sleep - a perfect recipe for crazy dreams and nightmares.
"Regardless of chemicals, beds should have few toys, and kids encouraged to settle and relax before they close their eyes.
He concluded that although he doesn't consider squishies to be "imminently dangerous," but they "shouldn’t be chewed or sucked on, and they definitely shouldn’t be bedfellows."
Michelle has since updated her post to add that her daughter has greatly improved since the removal of the toys, however it is unknown as to whether or not she sought medical advice followed the incident.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.