Nfld. & Labrador

Mom fired up after she says sunscreen — not sun — burned her baby

One mom is seeing red after she claims a popular type of sunscreen caused second degree burns to her 14-month-old daughter.

Rebecca Cannon, of Botwood, says Banana Boat Kids SPF50 caused 2nd degree burns to 14-month-old

Rebecca Cannon says she was told that her daughter suffered second degree burns. The mom says she applied the aerosol product to her 14-month-old as she didn't have any sunscreen on hand specifically for babies. (Charlene Fudge/Facebook)

A mom in Botwood thought some sun protection was better than no sun protection for her 14-month-old daughter, but says the end result was a second-degree burn.

"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," says Rebecca Cannon, about what happened to her daughter Kyla. 

"We immediately took her up to the doctors and found out she has second degree burns."

Canon said she used Banana Boat Kids SPF50 in the aerosol can, which describes itself on the packaging as alcohol-free and offering broad spectrum protection. 

Cannon says she noticed her daughter's face was getting more red, despite it not being a particularly sunny day. The next morning, Kayla was swollen and blistered, says her mom. (Charlene Fudge/Facebook)

"I know for her age, she should be wearing baby sunscreen, but we didn't have any," said Cannon, noting she was at her sister's house and it was not a particularly bright day.

"I figured just putting it mildly on her face, for some protection rather than having none at all, would be OK and yeah, it didn't go over well."

Isolated incident?

Cannon said other kids have used it, including her three-year-old nephew, but on this day, her daughter "was the only one that had burns on her."

She said she was surprised to learn a few things when she talked to the doctor who ended up treating Kyla after the incident.

"He said in some babies, there has been other cases of burns caused by [sunscreen]," said Cannon, who noted the doctor said it was also possible the sunscreen caused such a severe allergic reaction that that was the cause of the second degree burns. 

The makers of Banana Boat had previously issued a recall of some its continuous spray products in 2012 due to a possible fire risk. (Bev Horne/Daily Herald/Associated Press)

Cannon said the incident prompted her to do her own research via the Internet and said she has come across multiple similar mishaps involving the same product.

"I honestly don't understand how it's still on the shelves," she said.

Product calls itself 'perfect sunscreen'

Cannon's story has been shared by a relative on Facebook and had garnered a whopping 9,300 shares, in addition to almost 850 comments since Sunday.

Reactions ran the gamut: sympathetic support, people claiming similar incidents have happened to them, questioning if the baby's reaction was allergic, chastising Cannon for applying the aerosol product by spraying and not rubbing it on, and criticising Cannon for using sunscreen that isn't specifically designed for babies.

On its website, Banana Boat describes the particular product that Cannon used as the "perfect sunscreen that's gentle on kids' skin, yet powerful enough to provide protection."

"We are greatly concerned when any person encounters a reaction using our products," the company wrote in a statement to CBC News, saying all Banana Boat products undergo rigorous testing and meet all relevant Health Canada regulations.

"We have spoken with the consumer and asked for the product so that our quality assurance team can look into this further. Without examining the product, it is difficult to determine what may have caused the problem as described."

Cannon posted this photo on Facebook Thursday morning and captioned it, "Looking better today for sure.' (Rebecca Cannon/Facebook)

Cannon said her interaction with a company representative included an offer for a refund and paid postage box to send the product back — an offer which fell flat for the mom whose daughter has been prescribed a steroid and antihistamine cream to keep the swelling down. 

"I would have never — in a million years — imagined her to get a burn so severe from sunscreen," Cannon said.

With files from St. John's Morning Show