Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 19:16 UK

Boy burned in tanning salon visit

Kieron Saunders (pic: IC Wales)
Kieron Saunders burns became infected (Pic courtesy of IC Wales)

A 13-year-old boy is recovering after sustaining severe burn blisters to his face after visiting a tanning salon three times in a day.

Kieron Saunders from Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, spent a total of 21 minutes under the lights of the stand-up booth.

He has been told to stay at home for a week after the burns became infected.

The salon's owner, Steven James, said he was "gutted" by the incident and is arranging meetings with officials to prevent it happening again.

Kieron's mother, Maria, said she had warned her son about the dangers of sunbeds before and had threatened to "ground him" and take away his pocket money if he used them again.

Swelling

"His lips swelled up and he looked like Baloo the bear from the Jungle Book," said Mrs Saunders.

"He couldn't lift his head up and he couldn't swallow. The doctor said it was because he had been badly burned.

"Kieron is quite a vain boy and he is self-conscious about his acne - that was why he used sunbeds."

The salon, called 'Sun Kissed', displays signs stating under-16s are not allowed to use the booths and not to tan for longer than six minutes.

However, the premises remains unstaffed for much of the day.

Mrs Saunders said her son ignored signs in the salon about tanning and she called for it to be staffed at all times.

I was absolutely gutted when this happened and I'm very concerned about it
Steven James, salon owner

The salon owner said he is looking at ways to prevent such an incident happening again but added that the salon was only unstaffed to compete with others in the area.

"I would very much prefer to have someone there all the time," added Mr James.

"We are not operating illegally and if laws were passed to make all salons staffed all of the time it would solve the problem.

"I was absolutely gutted when this happened and I'm very concerned about it.

"I'm now considering staffing the shop outside school hours and maybe full time."

The British Association of Dermatologists said there needed to be further scrutiny of the tanning industry.

"This sort of horror story is precisely why sunbeds need tighter regulation," said Nina Goad, from the association.

"Under 18s should not be allowed to use sunbeds, and unmanned, coin operated sunbeds should be scrapped altogether.

"Children can't be expected to understand the risks that these machines pose, especially when they can be found at sports centres and places that suggest they are 'healthy', which sends conflicting messages."




SEE ALSO
Sunbed use 'puts lives at risk'
07 Apr 08 |  Health
Mother dies after daily sunbeds
05 Jul 07 |  Manchester

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