Kid suffers 3rd-degree burns after DIY slime project

A fifth-grader suffered severe burns after playing with homemade slime.

ByABC News
March 28, 2017, 3:27 AM

— -- A Massachusetts mother said her fifth-grader suffered severe burns after playing with homemade slime, a project she said she's done with her daughter many times before without incident.

Siobhan Quinn said her 11-year-old daughter, Kathleen, endured second- and third-degree burns on her hands after playing with the homemade slime, a do-it-yourself trend that surged in popularity this year thanks to social media.

"She was crying in pain, 'My hands hurt, my hands hurt,'" Quinn said in an interview with ABC's Boston affiliate, WCVB, on Monday. "When we looked at them, they were covered in blisters."

The most common recipe for slime involves just three ingredients: Elmer's Glue, the household cleaner borax and water. Users can also add a bit of food coloring for effect.

Earlier this year, Elmer's U.S. sales rose 9 percent in the 13 weeks ending Feb. 11 because of the popularity of slime, according to its parent company, Newell Brands.

"I thought it was great," she said. "I encouraged it, bought all the stuff, and then when they were gone, I bought more. She was being a little scientist ... [Now] I feel terrible. I feel like the worst mother."

Quinn took her daughter to South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, where doctors said the injuries were likely the result of prolonged exposure to borax.

Consumer Reports' chief scientific officer, James Dickerson, has warned about the dangers of using borax — which is meant to be a household cleaner or an additive for laundry — for other purposes, but many parents still use it.

"Just because you have it around, just because it seems to be perfectly safe for those types of applications doesn't mean it should be used in anything else, particularly household slime," Dickerson said in a Consumer Reports news video earlier this month.

The gooey stuff has been around for a while, and it surged in popularity this year as more parents and kids began to share their creations on social media. More than 1.2 million results appear on YouTube from a search for "homemade slime."

Quinn said she, like many other parents, made the slime many times before without a problem, but now she's warning others against it.

"I've had other mothers say, 'Oh, we've made it a million times. It's fine. Nothing happened to my child,'" she told WCVB. "We made it a million times too, and nothing else happened."