Any parent can tell you how scary it can be to shield your children from everyday hazards. Furniture, food, outside elements, and more can all appear dangerous to a small child.
One mother in Portland, Maine, unfortunately experienced a parent’s worst nightmare when her baby girl was hurt by a seemingly insignificant object in their home.
Folichia Mitchell is a mother to four beautiful children: three boys and a 9-month-old baby girl named Kennedy Jane. Kennedy Jane ingested a water bead in late October and is still fighting for her life today.
Water beads are one of many kinds of sensory-based toys popular today, and can be completely safe if a child plays with them while under adult supervision. They are about the size of a pebble and swell in size when they come in contact with water.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what made it so dangerous when Kennedy Jane swallowed it. After ingesting the bead, it expanded to half an inch, eventually ending up in her intestines and rupturing them.
Not yet able to communicate discomfort fully, her mom only noticed when the baby stopped eating normally.
“She went two days without eating anything,” Mitchell told WMTW. “By the time we made it to Portland Hospital, she was not off the, off the stretcher before she started vomiting bile.”
The infant’s mother went on to explain, “The bead blocked her small intestine, which made it swell so large it leaked into her body, and that caused sepsis and an infection. She’s had three surgeries this week. Her lungs were struggling, and her heart was struggling and her kidneys were struggling.”
A family friend set up a GoFundMe for the family’s needs in the meantime, including the care for Kennedy at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in addition to still taking care of her three brothers.
Kennedy Jane has been in the hospital since October 31, but is reportedly showing signs of improvement. Her body is still fighting several infections, and she is scheduled for surgery this Wednesday.
Her mother never expected such a simple item to be so dangerous. As the warning label explains, the item is certainly a choking hazard, but Mitchell never thought it could harm her daughter’s organs as much as it has.
“Parents don’t have the chance to make an informed choice before buying,” Mitchell said. “If I had seen ‘toxic if ingested, can cause blockage,’ I never would have bought them and brought them into my house.”
Kennedy Jane’s mother has now begun to advocate for clearer warnings on water beads so that what happened to her daughter will not happen to anyone else. She explains:
“I just really hope people can think about my daughter in a positive way or pray for her so that she could make it through.”
We know that we will be praying for Kennedy Jane. Please make sure to keep her in your thoughts and prayers as well!