Health Canada has now received 187 complaints from across Canada about Banana Boat sunscreen products, and more than half of those suggest the sunscreens are causing burns. Health Canada began investigating after reports from three parents that their babies developed second-degree burns subsequent to using sunscreens for kids from Banana Boat. The parents believe that their children were burned not from the sun but from the sunscreens themselves.
Though the company has conducted tests on the products and found them to be safe, Health Canada is conducting its own tests and expects to have results in the coming weeks. Some parents are calling for the products to be taken off store shelves.
Rebecca Cannon from Botwood, Nfld., was one of the first to come forward in early May. Cannon reported that after using Banana Boat Kids Free Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+ on her 14-month-old daughter Kyla's face, her daughter's skin became increasingly red and eventually developed a blistering burn. In a later post, after her daughter had returned to a dermatologist, Cannon wrote that doctors had confirmed it was a chemical burn.
Montreal mom Caroline Morneau shared a similar experience that she had with her nine-month-old son, just last week, after using a Banana Boat baby sunscreen lotion with SPF 60.
Though there is no word yet on what is causing the burns, Health Canada spokeswoman Renelle Briand says the department is taking the reports very seriously. "If we do determine that the product actually needs to be taken off the shelves, we'll take the appropriate measures to do a recall," she said. "We're not at that point yet. We're just looking into it."
Health Canada noted in a statement that "Often it is not possible to determine if an adverse reaction reported to Health Canada is a result of using a specific health product." The department went on to say, "Other factors, such as a person's health conditions or other health products they are using at the same time, could contribute to the reaction."
Despite concerns about potential sunscreen reactions, it's important to remember that infants are very vulnerable to UV rays. Using shade, protective clothing and sunscreen are some of the best ways to keep them safe from cancer-causing rays. Sunscreen is not recommended for kids under six months, so they should be kept out of the sun entirely.