Baby Fighting for Life in PICU After Popular Children’s Toy Ruptures Her Intestines

Homes are full of potential dangers, most of which we get used to dealing with. However, having children sets a new precedent, and all of the everyday dangers we learned to deal with as adults pose new threats to the newcomers.

There are the big ones that we’ve learned to watch out for: dressers and bookshelves need to be anchored, breakable items need to be moved to higher ground, and chemical cabinets need to be fitted with proper locks.

But there are smaller, rarer dangers that are just as harmful as those we know. And a mother in Portland, Maine, is grappling with the heartbreaking discovery of just such a threat.

Folichia Mitchell is a mother of four children: three boys and a 9-month-old girl named Kennedy Jane. At the end of October, little Kennedy Jane somehow got hold of a water pearl and swallowed it and has been fighting for her life ever since.


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Water beads have become increasingly popular in recent years and offer a fun sensory experience when used by children of the appropriate age with adult supervision.

They’re small, about the size of a pebble, made of gel, and expand in water — which is exactly why baby Kennedy Jane found them such a dangerous object to ingest. After swallowing the pearl, it expanded to half an inch, eventually ending up in her gut and ripping it open.

The first sign something was wrong was when Kennedy dropped her food off for Jane.

“She hasn’t eaten for two days,” Mitchell told WMTW. “When we made it to Portland Hospital, she wasn’t off the stretcher before she started vomiting bile.”

“The pearl blocked her small intestine, causing it to swell so much that it entered her body, causing sepsis and infection. She had three surgeries this week. Her lungs fought, her heart fought and her kidneys fought.”

A friend set up GoFundMe for the family to help them through the time in the pediatric intensive care unit and care for their three young sons.

Kennedy Jane is doing better, according to an update Tuesday. She has been in hospital since October 31 and is currently battling multiple infections, is still grappling with a blood clot in her arm and will have another operation on Wednesday.

@fo_bby4 @displaynotplay #mykenny🤍 #waterbeadinjury #ineedallyourhelp #reportthem #spreadtheword #keeppraying #healingtiktok #warriorbaby #dangerous ♬ Original soundtrack – Folichia Mitchell


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Little did Mitchell realize that such a simple toy could produce such devastating results. The pack warns the beads could pose a choking hazard, but not that they could cause an intestinal obstruction, so it’s asking for clearer labeling and warning parents that the gel beads may not be as innocently fun as they’re made for .

“Parents don’t have the opportunity to make an informed decision before making a purchase,” she said. “If I had seen that ‘toxic if ingested can cause constipation’ I would never have bought them and brought them into my house.”

“I really hope people will think positively of my daughter or pray for her to get through this.”

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she has devoted herself to writing and is particularly fond of animal-related subjects.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t know exactly how. She graduated from California State Polytechnic University with an MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, and wrote her thesis on metacognitive development and literacy transfer in freshmen.
She has a range of interests that keep her busy including trying new recipes, enjoying the great outdoors, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum and writing biographies. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she had blue-green hair.
In addition to a book in the works on productive communication strategies, Amanda writes and illustrates a number of children’s books with her husband Edward.


Austin, Texas

Spoken languages

English and a little German

Topics of expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking Baby Fighting for Life in PICU After Popular Children’s Toy Ruptures Her Intestines

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