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  • Writer's pictureJunior Oliveira

Don't put your CHILD'S HEALTH at RISK: see 4 possibly dangerous popular DIY online recipes

Updated: Jun 16, 2019

In theory, do-it-yourself projects (presented in videos or posts) are usually a cheap safe way to find solutions for almost everything. These step-by-step instructions are easy to understand, and also there is an incredible variety of tips, tutorials and exciting things to entertain children, such as simple craft ideas or child-friendly recipes for our little cookie monsters. Thus, it can easily enable us (as parents), and our children to learn new skills and be proud of our creativity and hidden talents.

But recently, some incidents presented in the media have revealed that DIY online instructions could be causing more harm than good; Actually, some can get very dangerous, and for this reason, I have decided to write this post. Another important reminder is that homemade doesn't necessarily mean edible or 100% safe, especially with young kids who put everything in their mouths.


Thanks to its lovely soft texture, it's one of the most popular toys amongst children. Consequently, these DIY videos became one of the most successful projects replicated on the web, and it produces more than 13,600,000 search results on Google. However, several health department systems around the world have advised parents to avoid using boric acid—a common, natural ingredient in many DIY slime projects. Boric acid and borax (a related compound) often appear in recipes for modelling clay and homemade slime. The European Commission states that excessive levels of boron may also cause vomiting, cramps, and irritation, and they warn that high levels may also adversely affect fertility.

Are there any safe alternatives? While the popular Borax-based recipes are best to be avoided, there are natural slimes that parents can make with their children, though the texture will be notably different. But there are also lots of recipes for safe homemade slimes using cornstarch, chia seeds, and gelatin.


This is another toy that definitely needs no introductions. Homemade play dough made with just a few ingredients seems so safe. However, the safety of this DIY project that you make at home depends on the ingredients you use. Basically, we can say that it is technically edible, but it doesn't mean it will become your child's favourite food. On the other hand, if you have pets at home, homemade play dough can be toxic if consumed by your dog or your cat, because of the high level of salt used in making the dough. The homemade version of this fun dough has more salt than the play dough you purchase in the store. Both can cause intestinal blockage if your pet eats them, but the homemade version can also cause salt or sodium poisoning in children. The UK's National Poisons Information Service explains that the symptoms of salt poisoning in kids include thirst, tiredness, vomiting, irritability, headaches and nausea.

Are there any safe alternatives? While it's not 100% harmful to humans, no parent wants play dough to be a key component of their children's diet or a risky snack for their pets. In this case, prevention is the best way to make sure they don't eat it. So, the best advice is to supervise your child always during play dough activities. If your attention is needed elsewhere, even for a moment, get the play dough out of your child's hands first, and explain to them about the risk of a pet eating it.


This DIY project is (technically) edible, considering that it's made from food ingredients that most people probably keep stocked in their kitchen, but of course, it's not necessarily meant that it should be offered as an actual snack after play time. It can be considered a safe alternative for toddlers who usually put things in their mouth. However, the main risks of this DIY project are related to the food ingredients: explains that parents and carers must always be cautious about elements that they allow children to handle. Also, as children enjoy sharing toys on play dates, for example, they are not aware of the possible risks. Therefore, parents should also consider any potential allergies, such as nuts allergy, gluten sensitivity or coeliac disease.

Are there any safe alternatives? Before making this DIY at home, make sure your children aren't allergic to any of the ingredients, such as wheat flour, powdered milk, peanut butter, or other ingredients.


This DIY project usually is more relevant to adults. However, I have decided to include it here, because I have read several articles regarding incidents with children that have used homemade sunscreen made by their parents, so if you love DIY beauty, probably at some point you might have investigated making your own homemade sunscreen. A quick Google search for the term "homemade sunscreen" will list about 9,750,000 results. According to the article Medical News Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that having "a history of sunburns, especially early in life," can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Thus, it is essential to wear sunscreen that is tested and proven to be effective, from childhood onward, whenever exposed to intense sun.

Are there any safe alternatives? We all agree that sun protection is essential and that its use improves our chances of not getting skin cancer. Consumer Reports investigated a possible answer: "What's unsafe is making homemade sunscreen using ingredients without proven SPF or broad-spectrum coverage in formulations that aren't standardized or verified for their efficacy," says Joel L. Cohen, M.D., director of AboutSkin Dermatology and DermSurgery in the Denver metropolitan area and an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Irvine. "Do you really want to experiment on yourself or your child, testing out a recipe and seeing if you get burned?"

So, guys, I have my opinion already about sun protection, and I can say that I love DIY recipes, but I will definitely not be going for this one. I'd prefer to protect my skin or safely activate my melanin with tested and certified products available in stores. Regarding the other recipes, next time I will check whether there are any consequences before I roll up my sleeves and work with my child on a DIY online project. So, please bear in mind that not all DIY projects are 100% safe.

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