An East Texas mother said her 3-year-old daughter suffered second degree chemical burns after being sprayed with Coppertone WaterBabies sunscreen lotion spray close to a month ago.
Deidre Little said it happened when they sprayed Channey directly, then rubbed it on her to protect her from the sun during a trip to a water park.
Two days later, Little said she was shocked to find a large blister on Channey’s leg, surrounded by inflammation.
“I went to help her use the restroom and saw the big, fluid-filled blister, a half inch deep,” Diedre said. “I mean it looked like a burn.”
Their pediatrician confirmed it was a second degree burn, Little said. While Channey never complained of discomfort, the doctor expects it to scar permanently.
“She said if Channey had come in contact with something hot, we would have known it because she would have cried,” Little said. “So that’s what led her to conclude it was a chemical burn.”
After wracking their brains,they realized the affected areas were where they had directly sprayed the sunscreen.
Kirk Gautier is a physician assistant with U.S. Dermatology Partners of Tyler and said he has heard of people getting burns from sunscreen but never seen it himself.
“The reasons are unknown but it’s more of a person’s skin type,” Gautier said. “It’s more of an allergy than the sunscreen itself.”
He said people react to different chemicals differently.
“There are some chemicals and toxins where people can have a rare photogenic allergic,” Gautier said.
He said sunscreen is the best protection from the sun, but swim shirts are the second-best option. Sold at major retailers, he suggested those with an ultra violet protection factor of 50 or higher.
Those who suspect they may be allergic to a sunscreen can test it on themselves by putting a nickel-sized amount on the inside of their arm for several days.
Since so many children use the spray without adverse side effects, Little said she linked Channey’s reaction to such a large amount being sprayed in one area. She said her advice to parents would be to spray modestly.
“Its kind of scary to think that you think you’re protecting yourself and you’re causing more harm than good,” she said. “We will not be using it again.”
CBS 19's Sasha Wilson reached out to Coppertone representatives for comment and received this statement:
"Bayer, the makers of Coppertone®, takes the well-being of our consumers very seriously. The safety of our products is a priority at Bayer, and we are concerned when a consumer has a negative experience with one of our products. Should there be an adverse event to a Coppertone product, consumers should call 866-288-3330. Please note that Coppertone’s high quality sun care products meet the stringent demands, unyielding precision and focus on quality that have been the pillars of Bayer’s business for more than 150 years."