Posted on May 26, 2017

Image Source: Peppermint Plum

That Fun Homemade Slime Can Be Detrimental for Children

Creating science projects from sources that seem ‘safe’ has been something that has been done by families for quite some time. Parents, teachers and caregivers have been making the famous ‘homemade slime’ as a way to introduce kids to the topic of science while including the experience of making a resulting product that kids love. However, as this type of project has increased in popularity, there has also been an uptick in a side-effect of the concoction that literally burns the hands of children.

Making ‘homemade slime’ is a mixture of Borax, glue and water. The ingredients sound harmless, as Borax has long been around as a natural cleanser and is in many homes. But as many in the natural health industry will tell you, just because a product is sourced from nature, it doesn’t mean that it is ‘safe’. There are many natural items that are both toxic and deadly to humans and animals.

The problem occurs with the Borax itself, which is a mineral known as sodium borate. Sold as a common household cleaner, it is considered to be a mild irritant. Regional Burn Center Staten Island University Hospital, NY director, Dr. Michael Cooper stated in Live Science interview that there are three factors involved in the homemade slime process that can determine the severity of burns experienced. They apply to both burns from heat and chemical burns. The duration of time that the skin is in contact with the chemical heat source is an important factor as the longer they are exposed, the more severe the burn. The second factor is in the strength of the heat or chemical, and the third is the actual skin thickness. Kids have thinner skin, which means that the chemical heat process can affect them more.

When the content of the heat source ingredient is higher, combined with the thin skin of the children and a long duration of playing with the homemade slime, the formula can result in kids experiencing second and third degree burns. The same duration combined with a milder concoction can lead to first degree burns which involves redness and sensitivity, but no blistering. Second degree burns are much more devastating, as they burn the deeper epidermis layers and involve more extensive healing time. The third degree burns enter the muscle, fat and tendon areas and are considered to be the worst as they cause damage that can go so far as requiring skin graft surgery. These often don’t appear as blisters but instead, the skin becomes white and leathery.

As clinics and hospitals see the arrival of children with painful burns on their hands, ranging from first degree to third degree burns, it is a requirement for parents, teachers and caregivers to be aware of this potentially dangerous condition. Kids may love playing with ‘slime’ and may encourage creating a homemade product, but they need to be aware of the harm as well as pain that can result in its use.