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Mom: Do-it-yourself slime caused serious burns to my daughter's skin

A mom whose 11-year-old daughter suffered serious burns to her hands speaks out about the danger of an ingredient in do-it-yourself slime.
/ Source: TODAY

Do-it-yourself slime, a craze that has become a popular project for kids at home and in the classroom, could also be a recipe for danger.

A Massachusetts mother claims her 11-year-old daughter ended up with second and third-degree burns on her hands from an ingredient found in do-it-yourself slime, which has become a viral sensation thanks to countless YouTube tutorials.

kids make slime
Borax, an ingredient found in many do-it-yourself slime recipes made by kids, could potentially cause serious burns, according to one mother whose daughter suffered injuries to her hands. TODAY via Happy Toy Time

"I just feel like a terrible mother for letting her have access to this,'' Siobhan Quinn told Sheinelle Jones on TODAY Wednesday. "I thought it was laundry detergent. I didn't think it was that bad."

Quinn's daughter, Kathleen, is recovering from burns on her hands that her mother says were caused by borax, an ingredient in many of the popular recipes for do-it-yourself slime.

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Kathleen has had to wear splints to straighten her hands and could require surgery if that treatment is not effective, according to Siobhan.

"I woke up in the middle of the night and my hands were just all wet and they were sticking together and they were blistered,'' Kathleen said on TODAY. "It just felt horrible."

Kathleen had been making slime every day for the past few months.

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"This time I just think her hands had had enough,'' Siobhan said.

"They are still very painful and they're kind of in a claw, so they're not very straight,'' Kathleen said.

Borax, or sodium tetraborate, is a natural mineral that has been used for laundry and house cleaning for more than a century. However, just because it's safe for use in those applications does not mean it's safe to use for other purposes, such as making homemade slime, Consumer Reports told NBC News.

The box clearly labels borax as an eye irritant and harmful if swallowed. The label also warns to keep it out of the reach of children.

Siobhan says she has been contacted from parents across the country and in the United Kingdom about their own children suffering burns from the homemade slime.

However, cases like Kathleen's are extreme, according to medical experts.

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"For most cases children using borax under supervision in very small doses shouldn't really be a big concern,'' NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres said on TODAY. "But, when they have heavy doses as in a lot of exposure with a lot of borax, that might cause an issue especially if they have sensitive skin."

There are borax-free alternatives in making slime, including one released by Buzzfeed that is mainly made up of liquid starch and glue.

"We decided to make this recipe because slime is such a huge trend right now,'' Buzzfeed senior producer Erin Phraner said on TODAY. "And we wanted to make sure that there was safe options that people could make that still deliver on the fun, colorful aspect."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.