A mother has issued a warning after a toy that she bought for her son nearly killed her infant daughter, leaving the little girl in critical condition. With her baby having undergone multiple surgeries in a fight for her life, this mom wants other parents to beware.
Folichia Mitchell was dumbfounded when her 10-month-old daughter, Kennedy, became lethargic and started vomiting. Initially, the concerned mom-of-four thought her baby may have been having a bad reaction to some food she had eaten, but she would soon discover it was something so much worse as little Kennedy ended up in a fight for her life.
When Kennedy’s symptoms didn’t subside, Mitchell became increasingly concerned and decided to take her daughter to the hospital in hopes of figuring out what was wrong. Eventually, Kennedy was transported to a larger children’s hospital by ambulance, where doctors ran tests on the 10-month-old baby and found a large mass in her stomach. It was then that the cause of Kennedy’s problems became more clear.
Folichia Mitchell had purchased the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Kit from Target for her 8-year-old son several days before Kennedy fell ill. The news that one of these water beads could be the culprit shocked Mitchell, who admitted that the possibility of her baby swallowing water beads never crossed her mind. According to Mitchell, she made sure that when her son played with the water beads, they were out of the reach of his younger siblings.
“We never saw her near them. Never saw her have one in her hand. Never saw her pick one up from the floor,” Mitchell told Good Morning America. “I was not worried about that at all. That never had crossed my mind the whole time that she was not feeling well and deteriorating.”
However, tests proved Kennedy had managed to find and swallow one of the water beads, which are made of superabsorbent polymers and expand in water. They can swell to the size of a tennis ball and cause intestinal blockage and damage, according to the National Capital Poison Center.
The accidental ingestion of the water bead, which expanded once it was swallowed, resulted in Kennedy undergoing five surgeries. When Kennedy underwent the first surgery to remove the water bead, doctors found that her intestines were already damaged. Four more surgeries followed due to infections she picked up from the blockage, the NY Post reported.
While speaking to GMA about the ordeal, Mitchell said that the battle for her daughter’s life had been incredibly difficult with doctors reportedly only giving Kennedy a 50-50 chance of surviving her third operation. Although she pulled through, over the course of a month, Mitchell said she was told three times that her baby may not survive. A month after swallowing the bead, Kennedy was reportedly still in the hospital recovering, and doctors were unsure of the long-term effects she may face. But, Mitchell said she’s beat “incredible odds” so far.
“She’s beat the odds that some adults don’t,” Mitchell said. “I’m beyond proud of her.”
Facing such a horrific ordeal, Folichia Mitchell wants other parents to beware and issued a warning after her child nearly died from accidentally swallowing a water bead. She has shared her terrifying experience on TikTok, making parents aware that the beads — intended for children 4 and older — can be potentially fatal. Target was made aware of the issue and told GMA in a statement that it has removed the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Kit from its shelves and its website while it reviews the situation.
It might be easy for some to say, “Just keep those away from small children,” but Folichia Mitchell said she did that. With the beads being incredibly small, it’s easy to see how a child might lose track of one. Perhaps a few were dropped and one just happened to roll to a hiding place, only to be found by a baby, who spends a lot more time on the floor than her siblings and parents. The brightly colored bead would have the appearance of candy to an unknowing child — a dangerous misconception. As such, we join Folichia Mitchell in spreading this important warning and hope you will too. It could save a life. Parents beware.