Infant’s monthlong hospitalization prompts national toy recall

Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 1:27 AM MDT
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BERWICK, Maine (WMTW) – A Maine infant’s nearly monthlong hospitalization is cited in a new national toy recall.

Now the family is raising awareness through their traumatic experience with water beads.

Folichia Mitchell said her then-infant daughter Kennedy swallowed one of the Ultimate Water Beads made by Chuckle & Roar.

The kits were sold exclusively at Target, but have since been recalled.

“We’re talking about a pack that sold 10,000,” Mitchell said. “So when I bought them, I bought 10,000. And one, literally one, was found in her body. It definitely changes you to see your child like that.”

Kennedy was hospitalized for nearly a month and needed multiple surgeries.

“That will forever stick with me and stained my heart in a lot of ways,” Mitchell said.

Kennedy is OK now, but has some digestive issues and is making up for lost time with motor skill development.

“Just being laid down for a month and sleeping for a couple of weeks, sedated, she was behind with walking and crawling. When she got out of the hospital, she couldn’t even sit up to support herself,” Mitchell described.

Water bead accidents have been linked to an estimated 4,500 emergency room visits over a four-year period, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Somehow their younger children got them and either ate them or even breathed them in,” Lauren Kirchner, of Consumer Reports, said. “And then once they’re inside their bodies, those water beads can continue to expand.”

Consumer Reports said Thursday the Consumer Product Safety Commission should “move as quickly as possible to finalize a ban or strong limits on water beads.”

“I need the Consumer Product Safety Commission and, you know, these agencies that are here in place in our government for us, to help,” Mitchell said.

Target said they pulled the Ultimate Water Beads in November, but would not say whether they will stop selling other similar water beads.

The manufacturer Chuckle & Roar did not respond to an initial request for comment.