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NJ tanning mom case puts spotlight on responsible tanning

May 2, 2012 10:31pm
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(NECN: Lauren Collins, Newton, Mass.) - Anyone who wants to get some color at Forever Tan in Newton, Mass. has to use protective eyewear and indoor lotion.

"We also make sure that every customer fills out a consent form," says employee Lauren Fantasia.  

New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont ban teens from tanning booths. All New England states have some restrictions and requirements for parental consent. The policy at Forever Tan requires "anybody under the age of 16 would have to have a parent with them and accompany them every single time."
     
New Jersey law bars anyone under the age of 14 from using a tanning bed. Patricia Krentcil denies her daughter was ever in one.  

"Forget about the presumption of innocence," says her lawyer, John Caruso. "My client is 150 percent innocent."

Krentcil says her daughter never actually entered the booth. But even if she waited in the space outside, she still would have been exposed to the light.  

The mother claims her daughter got a sunburn while playing outside. The girl told friends at school she'd "gone tanning with mommy."

Fantasia says younger tanners are usually following an example.

"If their older siblings might be doing, they might want to try it out," said Fantasia. "If they have parents who do it, they might want to try it out, so we do see that from time to time, yes."

In all her years working in salons in the Boston area Fantasia's never seen anyone as "tanorexic" as Krentcil, but she does remember one mom who wanted her adolescent daughter to tan for beauty pageants.

"She took her tanning all the time and the daughter did not really want to go," said Fantasia. "She would cry and say I don't want to go tanning."

Krentcil has reportedly tanned up to twenty times a month for the last several years.  Fantasia says more frequent and, especially, younger tanners are encouraged to try spray tans instead of the beds or booths.
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