Mom warns about sunscreen after 14-month-old daughter ends up in ER

Last year, Rebecca Cannon thought she did everything right before her then 14-month-old daughter, Kyla, went out to play on an overcast day a few weeks ago. Cannon, 32, was visiting her sister in Newfoundland, Canada, and had forgotten their usual sunscreen, so borrowed some.

She sprayed the Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 on her hands and gently rubbed it on Kyla's nose and cheeks.

"When it came to having sunscreen on, I thought it was better to have some sunscreen than none at all," Cannon told TODAY.

In a short time, the little girl's face became red and swollen. The next morning, it was worse.

"She was red. She was blistering," Cannon said.

Cannon, who lives in Botwood, Newfoundland, Canada, took Kyla to the emergency room where doctors diagnosed her with a second degree burn. But Cannon couldn't figure out how Kyla received the burn. On top of having the sunscreen, Kyla wore a hat and was covered for much of the day. Plus, the sun didn't seem to cause burns on anyone, including Cannon, who wasn't wearing sunscreen.

"She was the only one who had the sunscreen on and she is the only one who burned," Cannon said.

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. She never heard from Banana Boat again but Health Canada (a federal institution helping Canadians maintain and improve their health) has an open investigation into the sunscreen because it received complaints about similar burns.

Related: At-home remedies

Sunburn: 10 Easy And Surprising At-Home Remedies
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Sunburn: 10 Easy And Surprising At-Home Remedies

Remedy #1: Tea Bags

While many people have tried putting tea bags on their eyes to reduce puffiness, they can also be helpful at providing sunburn relief.

Simply soak black tea bags in cool water and place them on the sunburnt areas — whether the eyelids or anywhere else.

Love to Know writes, “Black tea will remove the heat, pain, and sting of your skin, all while leaving a toasty warm glow.”

Remedy #2: Cucumbers

It might look silly, but the cooling power of a cucumber can be extremely effective against painful sunburn.

You can either place slices directly on the burn, or mash it up in a blender and apply the paste.

Everyday Roots writes, “However you do it, the swelling, redness, and pain should diminish soon.”

Remedy #3: Oatmeal

According to, “Oats are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them perfect for soothing irritated, itchy sunburned skin.”

All you have to do is cook the oatmeal like normal and allow it to cool before applying. Don’t rub it in, but simply let it sit on the sunburn until you are ready to rinse it off.

Remedy #4: Yogurt

When you are in a pinch and the only thing handy is yogurt, you are definitely in luck!

Cosmopolitan suggests you let the cold yogurt sit on your sunburn for about 10 minutes.

They say the yogurt “contains a lot of probiotics that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier.”

Remedy #5: Potatoes

According to Everyday Roots, “Potatoes have been known as a pain reliever throughout the years, working particularly well on minor skin irritations and soothing scratches, bites, and burns, as well as possibly reducing inflammation.”

So just grate up some potatoes, place them in a blender, and dab the paste on your sunburn with a cotton ball to find the relief you seek!

Remedy #6: Strawberries

Similar to cucumbers, strawberries can be placed on your sunburn in sliced form or in mashed paste form. Both can be effective in relieving pain.

Sunburn Treatment Pros writes, “Strawberries have tannic acid, which can help take the sting out of a sunburn.”

Remedy #7: Milk

Dabbing milk on your sunburn can be extremely helpful in fighting it. writes, “The fat, protein, and pH of milk have a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.”

They even suggest mixing the milk with ice water to provide colder, soothing temperatures for the burn.

Remedy #8: Ice

One of the fastest and most effective ways to ease your sunburn pain is with ice (or at least icy temperatures). suggests anything from an ice pack to a bag of frozen vegetables in order to provide relief!

Remedy #9: Honey

Honey may be a sticky solution, but it is also an effective one!

According to, “The sticky stuff’s been used as a topical burn salve since Egyptian days.”

Dr. Kathi Kemper tells, “Studies suggest it may work better than some antibiotic creams at speeding up healing, reducing infection, and minimizing pain.”

Remedy #10: Water

And perhaps the most important tip of all? Drink tons and tons of water!

Sunburn Treatment Pros writes, “Whenever your skin is sun damaged, you will need to drink as much water as possible to keep your skin hydrated.”

They suggest “eight glasses a day, eight ounces a glass.”

Each of these unique at-home sunburn hacks can help to ease the pain and set you on a path to healing even faster.


"All Banana Boat products undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are appropriately labeled and meet all relevant health regulations, including SPF tests. All Banana Boat sunscreens also fall within a neutral PH range, which means they are safe for human skin, topical use, and cannot cause chemical burns, which are sometimes mistakenly linked to personal care products or confused with sunburns, or tissue damage."

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.

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."

Cannon did the absolute correct thing by rubbing the spray sunscreen into Kyla's skin, Friedman said. Many people forget that. And, she used clothing to cover Kyla, which adds extra protection.

Sunscreen also needs to be applied every two hours, Friedman said.

A year later, Kyla has no scars on her face from the burn. Still her mom wants to warn others.

"I never thought in a million years that this would happen," she said. "I just want people to do their due diligence when they are putting stuff on their youngsters."

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