An 11-year-old Massachusetts girl suffered blistering burns to her hands after making “slime” at her home last week, prompting many to wonder if the popular homemade gooey concoction is safe for children.
Kathleen Quinn, of Rockland, said her hands began to feel really “hot and tingly” after she used Elmer’s Glue, water and the household cleaner Borax to make the do-it-yourself slime at her kitchen table, CBS News reports.
“She was like crying in pain, ‘My hands hurt, my hands hurt,’ ” Siobhan Quinn, Kathleen’s mother, told CBS. “And we looked at them and they were covered in blisters.”
Kathleen’s family took her to a local hospital where doctors found that she had second- and third-degree burns on her hands as a result of extended exposure to Borax, CBS reports.
Kathleen is expected to make a full recovery.
Sodium borate, also known as Borax, is typically used as a household cleaner and the label warns customers to not eat the substance and to keep it away from their eyes.
“It’s not designed to be a component for household projects like making slime,” Consumer Reports Chief Scientific Officer James Dickerson tells PEOPLE. “It’s a material that is known to be an irritant to the eyes and to the breathing passages and nasal cavities, respiratory tracts. And it can be an irritant to skin.”
“So we believe that it’s something that should be used solely for its intended purpose as a cleaner or a laundry booster, not as something for children, particularly, young children, to play around with in making things like slime.”
Homemade slime has been the latest craze among children in recent months. In fact, an official with Newell Brands, the company that owns Elmer’s Glue, told the Boston Globe that sales in the sticky substance have spiked “due in large part to slime mania.”
Kathleen isn’t the only child to suffer injuries from the slime, though. In February, a mother in the U.K. posted Facebook photos of her daughter’s burned, peeling hands.
“My little Queen has been making slime off YouTube … they call it Unicorn Slime or Tie Dye Slime, crazy names, all in really pretty and funky colours,” the woman wrote.
“I went and bought DeeJay all the ingredients and let her make it. 3 weeks later we are looking at plastic surgery on her hands from a burns department at Hospital.”
It is unclear whether Borax was used in her daughter’s slime.
Doctors have warned that using Borax to make slime could be toxic if not safely diluted, CBS News reports. And Kathleen’s mother said she hopes her daughter’s situation would prompt others to take precautions when making the goo themselves.