Slime fad a 'recipe for disaster' after child drinks poisonous ingredient borax

Slime fad a 'recipe for disaster' after child drinks poisonous ingredient borax

Slime fad a 'recipe for disaster' after child drinks poisonous ingredient borax

Updated 6 November 2017, 18:00 AEDT

A mother has spoken out as a warning for other parents after her son accidentally drank a borax solution made by her slime-obsessed daughter.

The slime craze that has captivated thousands of children around the country is a "recipe for disaster" with many products containing the potentially harmful mineral borax, a poisons expert says.

The warning comes after a Sunshine Coast boy drank a borax solution from what he thought was a bottle of water.

Sunshine coast mother Maria Hobson said her daughter Evie was "obsessed" with making slime.

When her son accidentally drank the solution, she feared the worst.

"It was a few seconds before he realised 'oh my God it didn't taste like water and it was probably borax'," Ms Hobson said.

"He ran out to me and said 'mum, I think I've just swallowed Evie's borax'."

She said he had consumed between 80 and 100 millilitres.

Ms Hobson said there was no smell or discolouration to the liquid to indicate it was anything other than water.

"I had to taste it and it did take a few seconds before you realise that it actually isn't water."

Slime recipes can include ingredients like shaving cream, hand foam, PVA glue and borax.

The slime-making fad has gone viral with children of all ages. An online search for "how to make slime" returns more than 10 million results, many of which have been viewed millions of times.

National issue

Carol Wylie from the Queensland Poisons Information Centre said the Sunshine Coast family was not alone.

She said the craze had resulted in an increased number of calls relating to borax ingestion.

"This has come up in meetings with my interstate colleagues so it isn't just a Queensland thing," she said.

"And I guess with the internet, things move quickly so those recipes would be available everywhere."

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a common household chemical used for a range of cleaning and pest control purposes.

But Ms Wylie said ingesting the mineral had varied health impacts which ranged from stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea to death, depending on the concentration.

She said a "finger lick of slime" wasn't likely to cause vomiting, however ingesting the raw powder would.

"Anything that's concentrated is more concerning than something that's diluted," Ms Wylie said.

"If a child's put slime in their mouth for example the risks are reduced because there's less borax in the whole product.

"But we're obviously concerned about the stage where children are making the product, they've got access to a concentrated product and concentrated borax in its pure form as a powder is quite dangerous and there are reports of toxicity and historically there have been deaths from borax."

Storage is key

Ms Wylie said if borax was kept in the home it needed to be stored out of reach of younger children and not in a container which could be mistaken for food or drink.

"We're always very concerned whenever any chemical ends up in a container that looks like it's a food or a drink container," she said.

"Obviously a toddler, for example, is not going to know that it's a poison … toddlers always put things in their mouth so it's a recipe for disaster I think.

"We have had one call where someone thought the borax was sugar and sprinkled it on a pancake and ate it."

But she said the centre's concerns weren't a reason for the slime craze to stop all together.

"There are other recipes out there that may have other ingredients that are less concerning.

"I don't mind people making slime, I've had children as well and it's fun to play with but people need to be educated and understand what's going in these products and not to assume that they're safe if they don't know."