As adults, we’ve learned to navigate all the everyday dangers in our homes, as we grow accustomed to dealing with them. However, when it comes to the new additions, it sets a new precedent. Having children in a home that are full of potential hazards sets a new threat for them.
Supervision is one of the keys to child safety at home, and by this, we have learned to secure drawers and bookshelves, we also placed all the breakable things in higher climes and give proper locks installed for chemical-containing cabinets. All of these are the big ones we’ve learned to watch out, for the safety of our children.
But even when you think you’ve removed all the home safety hazards, the reality is that children can still face dangers. There are lesser-known dangers that are just as harmful as the ones we are aware of. And because of one such threat, a mother from Portland, Maine has been dealing with the heartbreaking discovery.
With three boys and an only girl, Folichia Mitchell is a mother of four. However, her life began upside down when her 9-month-old baby girl named Kennedy Jane has been fighting for her life ever since she got a hold of and ingested a water bead in late October.
Water beads are a popular children’s toy that consists of little polymer balls that expand in water to produce a squishy, sensory experience. They’ve recently made headlines thanks to a popular social media fad known as the “Orbeez Challenge,” in which kids freeze the small balls and then blast them with a pellet pistol. While that challenge is serious, these little gel balls provide an even more threat to children.
Water beads, like most children’s toys, are little and brightly colored and they resemble candy, boba balls, or gum, especially before they have expanded to full size. Unfortunately, little children can easily put these colored balls in their mouths, ears, or noses. If even one is ingested, it might cause choking or intestinal obstruction.
Water beads are made to enlarge when submerged. As a result, when consumed, they can enlarge to the point where they obstruct a tiny child’s bowel or airway in a matter of hours. That is why for baby Kennedy Jane, the water bead eventually ending up in her intestines and rupturing them, as it expanded to half an inch after she swallowed the bead.
When Kennedy Jane stopped eating, that was the first indication that something was wrong.
Mitchell told WMTW, that Kennedy Jane:
“Went two days without eating anything, by the time we made it to Portland Hospital, she was not off the, off the stretcher before she started vomiting bile.”
“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,” she said.
To assist the family as they manage their time in the pediatric intensive care unit and caring for their three young sons, a friend put up a GoFundMe page. According to a Tuesday update, Kennedy Jane is doing better. She has been in the hospital since October 31 and is undergoing another surgery on Wednesday. She is also battling multiple illnesses and a blood clot in her arm.
And because the product only mentions the possibility that they could be a choking hazard rather than that they could result in intestinal obstruction, Mitchell is requesting clearer labeling and advising parents that the gel beads might not be as much fun as they’re made up to be. The devastated mom was not aware that such a simple toy could produce such disastrous effects.
“Parents don’t have the chance to make an informed choice before buying, If I had seen ‘toxic if ingested, can cause blockage,’ I never would have bought them and brought them into my house,” she said. “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.”
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