A 9-month-old baby is fighting for her life in a Maine hospital's pediatric intensive care unit after swallowing a water bead that grows in size when placed in water.

The infant's mother is now warning other parents about the dangers of ingesting water beads after her daughter underwent three surgeries within a week.

Folichia Mitchell, from Berwick, said her infant daughter swallowed one of the Ultimate Water Beads under the brand Chuckle & Roar, whose products are exclusively sold at Target, KSWO7News reported Tuesday.

Water beads vary in size and grow when put in water. The brand's jumbo beads can reportedly grow up to half an inch.

Mitchell also has an 8-year-old son who is on the Autism spectrum, and the beads were meant to be a sensory tool for him. However, her infant daughter swallowed a pebble-sized bead.

The baby was taken to the hospital as the bead started growing inside her body.

"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 recalled, according to the outlet.

Mitchell added that her daughter underwent three emergency surgeries in just a span of a week because of the bead.

"Because of the infection, the vessels in her body also swelled," she told WMTW. "So all the fluid that she's been given is leaking into her body, causing pressure to build up. Her lungs were struggling and her heart was struggling and her kidneys were struggling. She had to have a third emergency surgery to remove part of the bowel from the body to release pressure in hopes that that would help her heart and kidneys and lungs."

The mother said it's now a matter of watching and waiting because "we don't really know what the next hour will bring or if some of her levels will crash or if an organ will start being affected because of the infection," as per the outlet.

Mitchell shared the incident to warn other parents and also demand that the manufacturer include better warnings on the packaging.

Although the packaging contains warnings about a potential choking hazard, it does not mention anything about the consequences of an infant ingesting a bead, the mother reportedly claimed.

"Parents don't have the chance to make an informed choice before buying," Mitchell added. "If I had seen 'toxic if ingested,' 'seek medical attention,' 'can cause blockage,' I never would have bought them and brought them into my house."

"They're not marked properly for safety, and I recommend you throw them away and you don't purchase them for your home," she went on to say. "They're in schools and daycares too, which is super dangerous because parents aren't even there to supervise that."

Target released a statement following the incident, noting, "We've recently been made aware of this tragic situation and send our heartfelt sympathy to this child and her family. Target requires our vendors to comply with all product safety standards, and all state, federal and local laws. We are working with the vendor of this product to better understand the situation."

Representational image (baby)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / christianabella)