Reports of babies burned by Banana Boat sunscreen prompt Health Canada probe
Newfoundland mother Rebecca Cannon told the CBC that her 14-month-old daughter allegedly sustained a second-degree burn after she applied Banana Boat Kids Free Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+. (Rebecca Cannon/Facebook)
TORONTO — Health Canada says it’s looking into three recent complaints of babies allegedly being burned by Banana Boat sunscreen products.
Spokeswoman Renelle Briand says the three reports were all made within the past month and came from multiple locations in Canada.
The most recent report involves a Montreal mother alleging her son developed blisters on his face after she applied a Banana Boat product.
Briand says the other complaints, originating in Newfoundland and an unknown location, are similar in nature.
Briand says Health Canada has reached out to Banana Boat products maker Edgewell Personal Care for more information, but has not taken any action against the products yet.
Edgewell did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Briand says Health Canada is taking the complaints seriously and has not ruled out the idea of further action if it determines there’s a significant public risk.
“If we do determine that the product actually needs to be taken off the shelves, we’ll take the appropriate measures to do a recall,” she said. "We’re not at that point yet. We’re just looking into it."
The most recent complaint surfaced on May 26 when Montreal mother Caroline Morneau wrote a Faceboook post about her nine-month-old son’s recent experience with a Banana Boat product, though she did not indicate which specific sunscreen she used.
Morneau wrote that her son developed blisters on his face shortly after using the product, prompting a visit to his pediatrician.
The doctor diagnosed second-degree chemical burns and attributed them to the sunscreen, Morneau alleged in her post, which was accompanied by a photograph showing a child whose nose, cheeks and upper lip appear burned.
Health Canada acknowledged receiving Morneau’s complaint, which it has not yet had a chance to add to its database of adverse reactions.
Once it has been added, the database will reflect 10 complaints against Banana Boat products filed since 1965. Briand said one previous incident reported in 1996 involved alleged burns.
“Often it is not possible to determine if an adverse reaction reported to Health Canada is a result of using a specific health product,” Health Canada said in a statement. “Other factors, such as a person’s health conditions or other health products they are using at the same time, could contribute to the reaction.”
Adverse reaction reports are suspected associations that reflect the opinion or observation of the individual person making the report, Health Canada noted. The data does not reflect any Health Canada assessment of association between the health product and the reactions, it said.
Briand confirmed that one of the database complaints over Banana Boat products was filed by Newfoundland mother Rebecca Cannon.
Cannon had previously told the CBC that her 14-month-old baby allegedly sustained a second-degree burn after she applied Banana Boat Kids Free Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+.
Like Morneau’s son, Cannon said her daughter developed blisters shortly after the spray was applied.
Briand said the third recent complaint was filed on May 15, but had few details other than that it involved burns allegedly suffered by a baby.