A mother in New Jersey is currently facing child endangerment charges after allegedly allowing her 5-year-old daughter to use a stand-up tanning booth, where the little girl suffered from burns, myFOXny reported.
Police arrested Patricia Krentcil, 44, after the girl—named Anna—told a school nurse she was in pain from burns she had gotten while “tanning with mommy.”
According to the report, laws in New Jersey prohibit anyone under the age of 14 from using tanning salon.
Krentcil—who is deeply tanned herself—maintains the situation is simply a misunderstanding. While admitting Anna had been in the room with her at the tanning salon, she denied Anna entered the actual tanning booth.
Her burns, Krentcil said, were from playing outside on a sunny day.
What the little girl may or may not have told the school nurse and police is actually irrelevant to this story, in my opinion.
We know that children mimic the behavior of parents. For Krentcil not to realize that her actions are influencing her child and putting Anna at risk for the future is irresponsible and negligent.
By watching her mother use the tanning booth, Anna may someday pick up these behaviors herself—believing that because she saw her mom use tanning beds, they are safe.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 50,000 cases diagnosed each year.
Not only that, a recent report from the Mayo Clinic found that skin cancer rates in the U.S. have increased six-fold in the past 40 years, even as rates of other cancers are falling. The rise is most pronounced among young women, according to the researchers who conducted the study.
So my advice to Krentcil, and other parents like her: Model good behaviors in front of your children. Keep them healthy and safe—and don’t expose them to unnecessary risks for the mere sake of vanity.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.