The news comes months after PEOPLE spoke with one of the moms advocating for its recall after her baby required multiple surgeries from ingesting a single water bead
A water bead activity kit sold at Target is being recalled after one infant's death and another's intestinal obstruction.
On Thursday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Buffalo Games has issued a recall of the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits, sold exclusively at Target.
"If a water bead is ingested, it expands and can pose ingestion, choking and intestinal obstruction hazards inside a child’s body, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and a risk of death to a child," the recall reads.
Consumers should immediately stop using and take away the recalled water beads from children. Contact Buffalo Games for a full refund and instructions on how to return the product in a prepaid mailing package supplied by the firm or return the product to any Target store.
This recall involves the Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit, which were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide and online at Target.com from March 2022 through November 2022 for about $15. On the front of the purple container, the label states Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kit — which includes 2 oz. of "jumbo" water beads and 6 oz. of "regular" water beads along with a clear container containing five small toy fish, a scissor scoop, tweezers, a scoop with handle, activity cards and instructions. The activity kit was sold in a purple box with UPC Number 079346627035 on the back.
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The recall comes after Buffalo Games learned that a 10-month-old in Wisconsin died in July 2023 as a result of swallowing the now-recalled water beads. The recall also references the story of Folichia Mitchell, whose 9-month-old daughter Kennedy accidentally ingested a water bead, leading to organ infections and several surgeries related to an intestinal obstruction.
PEOPLE spoke with Mitchell in February about the heartbreaking situation, which led to a weeks-long hospitalization for her baby girl.
"It's made what should be ordinary life feel terrifying," Mitchell said. "It's been really scary because we never let her have the water beads and weren't expecting it. It was so shocking to be told she has just one water bead in her body, and here's all that's happened."
"Then, two days would pass, and it would be, 'She also has this condition.' Her heart had stopped working in the second or third surgery, so they had to run an emergency artery line in her right arm because of, I believe, whatever chemicals were in the bead."
"Her blood wasn't clotting, but then she formed a clot. When they did that, they had to run that emergency line," she continued. "So for two days, her hand was gray and it was like, 'Her body is swelling and building pressure. She also might lose this arm if this medicine doesn't help.' "
"Then she needed surgery, but she has no platelets. So she's got a clot we're trying to get rid of, but her body can't clot to go into surgery. So we've got to give her platelets, and then she's got no red blood cells, so we've got to give her a red blood cell infusion. So many things happening out of nowhere that came from something we weren't expecting, and it just scares you," she concluded.
When talking about her advocacy work to get the water beads pulled from shelves, Mitchell said she was driven by "anger" of being robbed of the opportunity to make an informed decision as a consumer and a parent.
"That really pushed me to keep talking about it because that is what made me feel really angry with the company is that I feel like I didn't get to make an informed choice when I bought the water beads," Mitchell said.
"I didn't get to know. And so if I had seen, 'If they're ingested, you should seek medical attention or could cause organ damage or could block the lungs — because I know specifically of a child who had it get lodged in his lung — then maybe I would have been able to make a different choice."
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