Children are attracted to tanning oil because of its sweet, tropical smell. Like skin lotions, tanning oils are a mixture of oils, water, and other ingredients such as dyes and fragrances.
While these products used to contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) to protect the skin, today’s products are usually PABA free. Tanning oils are generally considered nontoxic; however, some people may have mild allergic reactions to certain products, so it’s important to watch out for skin or eye irritation. If tanning oil is swallowed, it may cause a mild laxative effect. Your child may experience minor stomach upset or loose stool.
If you notice that your child has ingested a tanning product, it is important not to panic. Take the bottle away from the child and wipe their mouth out with a soft wet cloth. You may give them some water to drink to get the taste out of their mouth. Do not try to induce vomiting.
After you have removed your child from the situation, immediately call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Treatment recommendations are often determined by the amount ingested. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions and our team of medical professionals will help to walk you through the next steps.
Caution: If your child has sprayed tanning oil into their eyes, call the Missouri Poison Center now for help on how to rinse the eyes. In rare cases, a child may choke on the slippery liquid and get it into their lungs. This is called an aspiration and can lead to breathing problems and a possible lung infection.
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