Despite properly applying SPF 50 sunscreen multiple times, 3-year-old Liam Sayers was left with first- and second-degree burns.
Liam's family came prepared for a weekend in the sun on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Mom Jennifer Sayers said that she coated both Liam and his brother with SPF 50+ Banana Boat Kids spray sunscreen and that she even sprayed it into her hands first before directly applying it onto their faces to ensure they were getting the proper coverage.
"Multiple times during the day we had the kids come out of the water, dried them off completely, and then reapplied the sun spray as directed," Jennifer said to WTVR.
According to the sunblock's bottle, the product is pediatrician tested and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. However, another Banana Boat product, Banana Boat Kids Max Protect and Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100, made Healthy Child's list of the 13 sunscreens with the worst EWG ratings for 2016. Additionally, the Environmental Working Group takes issue with spray sunscreens in general due to potential lung inhalation.
Jennifer said that she followed the bottle's instructions during each application and that Liam was fine on the way home from the beach. She also wrote on Facebook that her family was only at the beach for four hours and that the boys were wearing rash guards for half of the time. However, by the time Liam awoke the next morning, she could tell that something was seriously wrong.
"His eyes were almost swollen shut, he had swelling and blistering all over his face, primarily on his cheeks and nose," Jennifer described.
Despite Jennifer's best intentions, Dr. Eric Freeman, a pediatrician at Old Dominion Pediatrics said that sometimes following the instructions isn't enough to protect your children and that you should consider buying different products specifically for their faces. "I can never guarantee to a family you won't get burned despite doing all of the right things," Freeman explained. "We look for sunscreens particularly for those sensitive areas that include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide."
Although the Banana Boat spray does not include those ingredients, the company issued a statement in regards to Liam's burns:
"Nothing is more important to us than the well being of the people who use our products. Consumers can rest assured that Banana Boat products provide safe and effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection when used as directed on the product label, and with other sun protection measures as necessary."