Health Canada investigating 2 allegations of babies burned by Banana Boat sunscreen
Company suggests irritation could be an allergic reaction
Health Canada is investigating two cases where mothers alleged that their babies received second-degree burns after using Banana Boat sunscreen for children.
This agency is also looking at a third similar case but has not yet revealed the age of the alleged victim.
"We're definitely looking into it and we're taking [the cases] very seriously," said Health Canada spokesperson Renelle Briand.
The agency learned about the most recent incident on Monday. It came to light after Caroline Morneau from Cacouna, Que., posted her saga on Facebook on May 26.
Morneau claimed that her nine-month-old baby, Loïc, appeared to have a sunburn on his face even though he had been wearing Banana Boat Baby sunscreen lotion. According to Banana Boat Canada's website, the product has a 60 SPF rating.
The following day, Loïc's skin had blistered, so Morneau took him to a doctor. She said she was shocked when the doctor informed her that her son had a second-degree burn, apparently caused by the sunscreen.
"I wrote this post not to get pity from people," she stated in French. Instead, she encouraged parents to pay a little more for higher quality products.
'Blisters started popping up'
Morneau's story follows a similar complaint by Rebecca Cannon earlier this month. The Botwood, N.L., woman told CBC News that her 14-month-old daughter, Kyla, got burned after wearing Banana Boat Kids SPF50 in the aerosol can.
"As the day went on, she got a little redder and redder, and the next morning she woke up and was swollen. She was bright red, there were blisters starting to pop up," said Cannon.
She, too, took Kyla to the doctor and said that her daughter was diagnosed with a second-degree burn.
Cannon then researched the issue on the internet and discovered multiple similar complaints involving Banana Boat sunscreen.
"I honestly don't understand how it's still on the shelves," she said.
Earlier this year, numerous Australians complained on Banana Boat Australia's Facebook site about getting burned after using its sunscreen products. Summer season in Australia is from December to February.
"I'd love to be able to post the pictures of my poor son after using your product. He hasn't been able to move properly for days and has been in agony," posted one angry mother.
"My son has second-degree sunburn on his face after a day at the beach using this product," griped another person.
Just an allergy?
Banana Boat Sun Care Canada told CBC News that it's aware of the public discussions regarding burn issues with its products.
"We'd like to reassure families that all Banana Boat products undergo rigorous testing to ensure safety and quality before they are placed in the market," said the brand in an email to CBC News.
It added that its products fall within a neutral PH range, which means they're safe for topical use and cannot cause chemical burns.
Banana Boat suggested that a bad skin reaction such as blisters may be caused by a sensitivity to an ingredient in the sunscreen that can be triggered or exacerbated by sun exposure.
Regarding the two Canadian complaints, the brand said that it takes all consumer complaints seriously and investigates cases when contacted.
"We are concerned when any person encounters a reaction using Banana Boat products," it stated.
Health Canada says it has received 10 adverse reaction reports to date involving Banana Boat products. The agency confirms that four of the complaints involved burn-related incidents: three from this month and one dating back to 1996.
Only the three cases from this May are currently under investigation.
In 2012, Banana Boat recalled some of its spray sunscreens because they posed a fire risk if a user was exposed to an open flame or spark before the product had dried.
Banana Boat is owned by U.S.-based Edgewell Personal Care.