Why Making Slime Is Sending Kids To The Doctor's Office
Dr. Diane explains the dangers of children using Borax
Ok the slime thing. It's big right now. I had no idea how big until I started asking parents of school-aged kids (mine are a bit younger) and they said, "Uh, yeah. Everyone makes slime nowadays. The kids trade it, play with it daily, and talk about it a lot..."
Well, this was news to me. But I've had a rude awakening to the Slime Revolution in my office recently.
I've seen two kids this past month with some of the nastiest, meanest looking finger/hand skin rashes I've seen in awhile.
The skin is dry, cracked, red, and sometimes oozing. It looks inflamed and infected. These rashes have been perplexing to me and it's only after lots of questioning that the families mentioned daily "slime" play.
It will likely take months for their poor skin to fully heal.
I've done a little Pinterest-ing and Googling and it looks like slime is made at home via some concoction of glue, baking soda, food coloring, water, and some form of borax.
OR - the recipe will call for "contact solution", which contains sodium borate or boric acid - which is, you named it - Borax.
Borax. Borax Borax Borax. Are you seeing a trend here?
Borax is a mineral. We use it as a mild antiseptic and cleanser. It's used in laundry detergents and household cleaning items. It actually has tons of good uses.
One of those good uses is not slime-making, in my opinion.
Repeated exposure to borax is known to cause skin problems, especially in kids with sensitive skin (like kids with eczema, or kids who have cuts/bug bites on the hand). Rashes can appear. Burns can appear.
I've even seen some news stories of kids with third-degree burns from the stuff, requiring hospitalization!
Some of these recipes even say they're "Borax-Free!" when really they contain contact lens solution...which has sodium borate in it. Read the fine lines, folks.
If your kids really want to make slime at home, avoid the ones with borax or contact lens solution in them. Here is a link to the recipe Cook Childrens' folks used when they annually slime doctors for Slime-A-Doc.
Or, if you must make the borax kind - limit your kiddos' exposure to it. The rashes seem to appear in kids who use it daily. Limit slime time to 1-2 times a week.
Hope this helps!
Get to know Diane Arnaout, M.D.
Dr. Diane Arnaout joined the Cook Children's Willow Park practice in 2011. You can stay connected with Dr. Arnaout and the Willow Park practice on Facebook. Dr. Arnaout was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She attended college at Texas A&M University and medical school at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. She did her pediatric internship and residency at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and M.D. Anderson at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX where she served as a leader on the medical education committees. She is a board-certified pediatrician. Click to learn more.
Thank you for any advice.