The Hidden Danger Behind 2 of the Most Popular Kids’ Toys

Think video games just rot your kids' brains? According to a new study, they're just one of your child's obsessions that may be causing this health condition.

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You may want to take an inventory of your child’s playroom. New research has found a link between two popular kids’ toys and a medical condition called contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash caused by contact with an irritating substance. While it’s not life-threatening, the rash can be pretty uncomfortable.

So what is to blame? First up, add another strike to the health risks of video games and screen time in general. A new case study by researchers from the University of Alberta and published in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery found a link between a mysterious rash and playing hours of Minecraft. When a 12-year-old boy presented to his physician with an eczemalike rash on his right forearm, the medical team couldn’t identify the cause until the boy’s mother mentioned how he’d been spending his summer vacation.

“His gaming activities were facilitated by abundant spare time during summer holidays and access to a dedicated computer desk,” wrote lead study author John F. Elliott, MD, and the coauthors. The boy had been playing Minecraft at a desk with a metal hinge made of nickel, which was irritating his skin. Once this hinge was covered with a mouse pad, his rash cleared up. Find out how to ID 14 of the most common skin irritations.

Another study, by researchers at the University of Antwerp in Belgium and published in Contact Dermatitis, found that homemade slime isn’t just your children’s newest gross obsession. It could also be causing an itchy red rash on their hands. The study authors described two cases of children developing severe contact dermatitis on their palms after playing with homemade slime made from textile glue and household detergents, which contain high concentrations of potentially irritating chemicals. Once the children stopped playing with the slime, their rashes disappeared.

“As slime appears to be a new fashion among children, we expect to see more cases in the near future,” Olivier Aerts, MD, and the study’s coauthors wrote. Have a slime-loving little one at home? Don’t miss these 8 home remedies for skin rashes.

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Carrie Madormo
Carrie Madormo is a business and wellness writer for internationally-recognized publications. Her writing has been featured in Working Mother, USA Today, and the Huffington Post. As a former nurse, Madormo loves to translate complex health studies into engaging content. She is passionate about empowering readers to live their best lives by taking control of their health.