Mom Warns About Sunscreen After Her 14-Month-Old Lands in the ER

One mom from Newfoundland, Canada, had a scary incident occur after she did something all responsible parents do: apply sunscreen to her daughter. On an overcast day, Rebecca Canon was visiting her sister and borrowed some Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 to put on her 14-month-old daughter, Kyla. Soon after, Kyla’s face began to swell and turn red, and the next morning it proceeded to blister. When Rebecca took Kyla to the doctor, she was diagnosed with a second-degree burn, despite the sunblock and the hat she had been wearing. Rebecca was baffled. has more:

The doctors prescribed a cream, but after two applications, Kyla’s face was redder and more swollen. They returned to the ER and Kyla was then sent to a dermatologist, who diagnosed her with a “caustic burn from something in the sunscreen.”

Cannon talked to Banana Boat; the company offered a refund and said it would test the sunscreen to determine the cause of the reaction. Cannon is also having the sunscreen independently tested, she told TODAY.

Banana Boat and its parent company, Edgewell Personal Care Company, responded to TODAY in a statement, saying the company investigates all consumer cases:


Dr. Adam Friedman — who did not treat Kyla — said that irritant contact dermatitis, what likely happened to Kyla, commonly occurs when an irritating substance touches a person’s skin. Something like an alcohol or even vitamin C, both ingredients found in sunscreens, could cause it.

“It could simply be an irritant reaction rather than something unique to this product,” he said.

Children over the age of six months are generally permitted to wear sunscreen, and Rebecca did everything she should have done in this situation: even though it was overcast, she still applied sunscreen to her child, and also made sure she was covered up with clothing and a hat. But it was clear that the sun had nothing to do with Kyla’s severe burns.

While the Banana Boat label says the product is safe for children six months and older, Friedman recommends that children use mineral block sunscreens — zinc oxide or titanium dioxide — until they’re about 4 or 5 years old.

“There are specific sunscreens for different ages because there are unique biological differences at different ages,” Friedman said. “Infant skin is much more irritable.”

Little Kyla, two weeks after the incident, was doing well. Her face was still slightly red, but luckily the swelling and blistering had subsided. Her mom hopes that other parents can learn from their unfortunate experience.

See below for more pictures: