A devastated mum has issued a warning to parents urging them to throw out any water beads they might have at home, after her little girl swallowed one and almost died.
Folichia Mitchell has been documenting her baby girl Kennedy's health journey after an ingested water bead sent her to the ICU with sepsis and a blood clot.
In a video posted to TikTok, the mum explained that on 1 November, her nine-month-old daughter was brought to the hospital because she wasn't feeling well.
It was only when doctors took a look at baby Kennedy that Folichia realised her child had swallowed a water bead.
Water beads are tiny colourful spheres that expand when placed in water. They're often marketed as sensory toys for children with autism or anxiety.
However, the tiny toys can be deadly when swallowed, especially once they expand inside the body.
"We didn't know the warning signs and the beads had no warning of what happens when ingested," the mum wrote in a TikTok video of her pacing back and forth in a doctor's office.
"After surgery she didn't get better like we expected. Her body became septic and was in shock."
She went on to explain that Kennedy's organs started to fail and her bodily fluids started leaking into her tissue.
"The doctor had to tell me more than once that my healthy and beautiful daughter may not make it," she continued.
"Then her organs were being suffocated by all the pressure in her body.
"She was at risk to lose an arm from a blood clot that had stopped the blood supply."
The post concluded: "Her life was being ripped away from me... From ingesting just ONE water bead."
Folichia's video went viral, as horrified parents thanked her for sharing her story and warning them.
"I had no idea!" wrote one follower. "Throwing them all away now! Thank you for the warning, I hope your daughter gets better soon."
A second commented: "My son was born on November 1st. I'll never forget this video or your story. You are saving lives sharing your journey."
And a third added: "Throwing away all water beads!! And praying for your sweet baby girl."
Unfortunately, baby Kennedy is still recovering in hospital, a full month after she first swallowed the water bead.
Her family has set up a GoFundMe for their medical bills, where they regularly post updates about their little girl.
The most recent update, posted on 23 November, told concerned fundraisers, friends and family that Kennedy would be spending her first Thanksgiving in the hospital with her mum by her side.
"We are very happy and thankful Kennedy is alive and with us and the rest can be worked on," the statement read.
"Today marks three weeks that we have spent in the hospital, half of that in intensive care, and it’s starting to set in that the medical bills are going to start coming and that is a very scary and real realisation we hope to prepare for."
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