As her daughter fights for her life, her mother raises the alarm about the dangers of water bead toys.

As her infant daughter fights for her life after swallowing one, a Maine woman is warning about the dangers of small children ingesting water beads and calling on a bead manufacturer to add additional warnings to its product.

Folichia Mitchell told WMTW that her daughter required three emergency surgeries after a bead grew in her body and blocked her small intestines, resulting in sepsis and infection.

“Because of the infection, the vessels in her body also swelled,” Mitchell explained. “As a result, all of the fluid she’s been given is leaking into her body, creating pressure.” Her lungs, heart, and kidneys were all fighting for survival. She needed a third emergency surgery to remove part of her bowel from her body in order to relieve pressure on her heart, kidneys, and lungs.”

Mitchell’s daughter swallowed a bead from the Ultimate Water Beads brand, which is manufactured by Chuckle and Roar and sold exclusively at Target. She claims she purchased the beads as a sensory tool for her 8-year-old son, who she claims is autistic.

When placed in water, the beads grow in size. The product’s “jumbo” beads can grow to half an inch in size, which is exactly what happened inside Mitchell’s daughter’s body.

“The doctors are saying that it’s really just an hour-by-hour, day-by-day situation,” Mitchell said of her daughter’s current condition. “We don’t really know what the next hour will bring or if some of her levels will crash or if an organ will start being affected because of the infection.”

Both the box and the instructions for the beads contain warnings about a potential choking hazard, but neither warns of the consequences if an infant ingests them. Mitchell contacted WMTW to warn other mothers about the product so they wouldn’t have to go through what she did.

“Parents don’t have the chance to make an informed choice before buying,” Mitchell said. “If I had seen ‘toxic if ingested,”seek medical attention,’ or ‘can cause blockage,’ I would never have bought and brought them into my house.”

“They’re not marked properly for safety, and I recommend you throw them away and you don’t purchase them for your home,” Mitchell said. “They’re in schools and daycares too, which is super dangerous because parents aren’t even there to supervise that.”

Chuckle and Roar have been contacted for comment by WMTW. “We’ve recently been made aware of this tragic situation and send our heartfelt sympathy to this child and her family,” said Target. Target requires all of our vendors to follow all product safety standards as well as all state, federal, and local laws. We are collaborating with the product’s vendor to better understand the situation.”

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