Shopping for the right sunscreen for kids can be overwhelming, but a recent story of a 14-month-old suffering from second-degree burns shows just how important it is to choose the right one for your child.
Earlier this month, Canadian mom Rebecca Cannon was visiting her sister on an overcast day when she realized she forgot her default sunscreen and borrowed some. She sprayed the aerosol sunscreen on her hands and rubbed it on the face of Kyla, her daughter. Kyla also wore a hat and was covered for most of the day.
Shortly after, the toddler's face started to get red and swollen. By the following morning, her skin was blistering. Cannon took Kyla to the ER, where she was prescribed a cream that made Kyla's face even more red. She was then sent to a dermatologist, who diagnosed her with caustic chemical burn from something in the sunscreen.
Cannon says doctors have verified and confirmed three times now that Kyla suffered a second-degree caustic burn.
“She was the only one who had the sunscreen on and she is the only one who burned,” Cannon told Today.
In a Facebook update, Cannon says Kyla is "doing OK and is in good spirits," and warns other parents to "please watch and be careful when using (aerosol) sunscreen! I have done a lot of research ... and have found a disturbing amount of cases like ours." Cannon also included photos of Kyla's burns.
The mom is having the sunscreen, Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Spray SPF 50, independently tested. Banana Boat offered a refund and also said it would test the sunscreen.
Its parent company, Edgewell Personal Care Company, told Today, “All Banana Boat products undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are appropriately labeled and meet all relevant health regulations, including SPF tests. All Banana Boat sunscreens also fall within a neutral PH range, which means they are safe for human skin, topical use, and cannot cause chemical burns, which are sometimes mistakenly linked to personal care products or confused with sunburns, or tissue damage.”
Recently, Environmental Working Group released their picks of the best and worst sunscreens for babies and kids. Among their list for the least safe include Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen (SPF 100), Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 100) and Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam (SPF 70).
Experts suggest parents pay attention to the age recommendations for different types of sunscreens. For children under 6 months old, parents should limit sun and sunscreen exposure as much as possible. For older babies and toddlers, pick a sunscreen that's specifically meant for their age group and have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They also recommend choosing broad spectrum and water-resistant products with SPF 30 or higher, and remind parents to constantly keep an eye on the clock and reapply every two hours.
Photos provided by Rebecca Cannon