A woman whose own skin is deeply bronze-coloured from regular visits to a tanning salon has been accused of taking her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth in violation of state law, burning the girl's skin.
Patricia Krentcil, 44, of Nutley, was in court Wednesday to face a charge of child endangerment. New Jersey law prohibits anyone under 14 from using tanning salons.
Outside court, Krentcil called the accusation a lie.
"It's all made up," she said.
She told The Associated Press her daughter got sunburned by being outside on a recent warm day. She said her daughter, however, had mentioned to school officials when she complained of itching that she had been to a tanning salon with her mother.
She had told various TV stations her daughter was in the room at the salon but not in the stand-up tanning booth.
Krentcil said she loves tanning and has visited salons for many years but would not do anything to jeopardize her daughter's health.
"Never in my life would I endanger my child by putting her in a tanning booth. I'm not dumb," she said before her scheduled hearing.
The owner of City Tropics Salon in Nutley says employees who were there on the day in question told him the then-5-year-old girl remained outside with her father and brother and didn't go into the tanning booth. She has since turned 6.
Police in Nutley told The Record newspaper they were called to the child's school April 24 because the kindergartner was in pain from a "pretty severe sunburn."