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Last Updated: Friday May 13 2005 15:27 GMT

Tan shops 'risking kids' health'

Person using a sunbed
Tanning shops are not doing nearly enough to make sure kids don't overuse sunbeds, research by CBBC has found.

It's not illegal for children under 16 to use sunbeds, but official guidelines say kids shouldn't use them at all.

But experiments by Newsround and Short Change found only a quarter of sunbeds are properly regulated.

In our research, we asked Emma, 14, to go into 10 salons and nine of them let her use sunbeds. Only one stopped her because of her age.

Experts have become really worried about children using sunbeds over the last few months. The government, doctors and the World Health Organisation all say children under 16 shouldn't use them.

There have been several cases of kids being injured using coin-operated machines. These are salons where you just go in and put your money into a slot to make the sunbeds work.

They're supposed to be monitored by CCTV to make sure people don't overuse them, but this doesn't always happen.

'Nobody stopped me'

Newsround and Short Change sent another young volunteer, Diane, into a coin-operated salon in Glasgow to see how many times she could get in.

"I've been in five times in a row and nobody has stopped me from using the sunbeds," she said afterwards. "If I'd actually gone on them I would have some severe burns by now."

'Worried'

One teenager, Hayley, who's 14, had been using sunbeds up to six times a week until her mum stopped her. Hayley now thinks she was addicted to sunbeds.

"My mum was really worried about my skin so we went to see a skin specialist and now I've cut right down and I use fake tan," she told CBBC.

Cancer

Experts all agree that children shouldn't be using sunbeds, but not enough seems to have been done to make sure this doesn't happen.

In the UK, around 70,000 people a year get skin cancer. It's the third most common cancer among people aged 15-19.

You can see more on this story on Short Change at 1pm on Saturday, 14 May on the CBBC Channel.



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