By Calvin Palmer
A 10-year-old girl suffered burns over 70 percent of her body after a visit to an unmanned tanning salon.
Kelly Thompson only had enough money for a 16-minute session on a coin-operated sunbed in Port Talbot, Wales.
Her mother Sharon Hannaford, 34, said: “She ran out of money. If she had had more, this could have been worse.”
Doctors at the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery said that if Kelly had remained for another two minutes, she would have needed skin grafts. She has been warned by doctors to keep out of direct sunlight for up to 10 years.
Hannaford said: “These sunbeds are very high-powered and there is nobody there to prevent a youngster going in and doing this. I want them shut down.”
The incident occurred when Kelly was given money to visit a fair with her cousin last month. The youngsters found the fair closed and Kelly decided to try the tanning salon, her mother said.
“When she came home, she laid down and didn’t feel too good and I noticed that she was a bit red in the face. Over about the next three hours she became really red and was feeling cold, although she was burning up.
“In the end I had to take her to hospital.”
The Health and Safety Executive yesterday published new guidelines recommending that salons should never be unmanned and that sunbeds be restricted to those over 18.
Electrik Avenue Tanning, where the incident happened, has a sign on the door saying “strictly over 16s only”.
Neath Port Talbot Council said that it was investigating the incident.