Mother Accused of Letting Daughter, 5, Use Tanning Bed

The New Jersey mother accused of allowing her 5-year-old daughter to use a tanning booth has denied the allegations after she was arrested and charged with second-degree child endangerment.

Although Patricia Krentcil doesn't deny that the child has been to the tanning salon with her, she says daughter Anna suffered from outdoor sunburn.

"The pediatrician said that she's got a little sunburn, but it was that only weekend we were out doing the gardening," Krentcil, 44, said.

It was Anna's school nurse who noticed she had a rash, and when the little girl told her it was from going tanning with her mother, the school notified child services. Krentcil said that while her daughter was in the room with her at the salon, she was never in the tanning booth.

"I never once in my life let me daughter, especially at that age, go into a tanning booth," Krentcil said.

She describes the girl's burns as not severe, and says she was told to put ointment on the rash, which she says is "just over-the-counter stuff."

Officials acknowledged the school's involvement and say they believe that Krentcil took the child into the tanning booth without the salon's knowledge.

"The little girl went to school and reported she had these burns and that caused the school to contact authorities," Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, said.

Carter declined to name the Nutley, N.J., tanning salon, citing the "ongoing investigation."

Ultraviolet lights in tanning beds are not only dangerous for children, but the UV light can damage DNA, causing mutations as well as formations of dangerous skin cancer cells.

"There's really no excuse to take a young child to a tanning salon," New York dermatologist Doris Day said. "We often consider going to a tanning salon the equivalent of smoking for the skin and the younger you start, those affects are cumulative."

Because of the negative effects, New Jersey law doesn't allow anyone younger than 14 is to use a tanning facility. Teens older than14 are allowed to go to salons but only with parental consent.

Krentcil is out on $25,000 bail, while her daughter in now in her father's custody.

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