Should parental consent be required for a minor to use a tanning bed?

United States
January 19, 2007 11:14am CST
I was at a local high school today. It was obvious that many of the teens have already begun to work on their tan for summer. (or perhaps they keep a tan year round) Do you feel, given the risk for skin cancer with use of tanning beds, that parental consent should be required for those under the age of 18 years? Why or why not?
3 people like this
24 responses
• Canada
20 Jan 07
I absolutely agree that consent should be given for minors to use tanning beds. It's really easy to get "addicted" to them and it's just not healthy for them to let it go that far. I did go to a tanning bed for a few sessions, once upon a time. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about :) The owner told me that he had trouble with people (especially the younger ones) getting really mad at him for establishing time limits for the various beds. He said he knew of at least a handful of people who would join multiple tanning salons and go from one to the next to the next so that they could spend extensive time in the beds in a single day. I think it's idiotic. Why on earth would anyone take that risk??
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
OMG, you have to be kidding me! By going in for longer time than is recommended you are definitely risking a bad burn, and of course, increased risk for skin cancer. People are just crazy!
• Canada
22 Jan 07
Oh definitely not kidding... although I wish I were! The owner said that it's especially bad around graduation time with the girls because they get dresses where they have a good amount of exposed skin and they decide, last minute, that they want to be tanned. So they go all out and try to get tanned in a day or two by jumping from place to place. He won't allow it but he says not all salons are responsible... some just want the business and leave it up to people to assume their own risks. It's bad enough with adults (who should know better) but to allow young people to do this? So wrong :(
@shywolf (4529)
• United States
20 Jan 07
I can see your point, but I am not sure. There are much more dangerous things that a pre-18 year old can be doing than trying to get a tan. *laugh* But... with the risks of skin cancer, and the fact that most teens feel invincible to the point that they wouldn't probably be considering such a thing when thinking about tanning, maybe it would be for the best. I really don't know if we have a law like that here in Missouri, though. I personally don't care a thing about tanning, and I am so fair skinned that I just burn anyway *laugh*
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
Yup, me too. White as a ghost. We are in the wrong century. In olden days, white skin was a sign of wealth. It meant that you could afford people to do your outdoor work for you. I suppose we could claim that today if we wanted!
@mtdewgurl74 (18122)
• United States
20 Jan 07
Some of my nieces use the tanning bed and my sister in laws I can understand the draw to it get a tan for only a few minutes in a tanning bed a day. Whiile others have to sit in the sun for hours. I think they do pose a health risk both options do. The Sun and the tanning bed. I tanning bed in the store where we live has a long list of do's and don'ts you can't be taking any kind of medications or be pregnant and you also have to be 16 and up. I myself think that paying $25.00 and up for a bottle of tanning lotion specially made for tanning beds and then the cost of $30.00 a month for using the tanning bed is way to much who pays for these sessions and the lotions the parents do. I don't think parents give it a second thought because alo of them have themselves used it. I have heard it ages the skin i am not sure on this. And it does cause health problems. And if not properly cleaned you can catch things maybe a yeast infection, my sister in law said she caught a ring worm from one.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
Ringworm, YUK!!! I can see how that would be possible if they don't wipe them down with disinfectant between patrons.
@lauriefnp (5113)
• United States
20 Jan 07
Good question! I'm surprised that the tanning salons don't require parental permission, actually. I would have NEVER been allowed near a tanning bed as a teenager- I was lucky enough to be allowed in the sun for longer than 1/2 hour without being bothered to put on sunscreen! If these kids only knew what their skin was going to look like when they're 50! There won't be enough botox in the world to help them all. If they don't die from melanoma first. I have to disagree with the person who posted that the tanning beds were safer than the sun. From what I know, it is the opposite. Especially since they go in the tanning beds with NO protection on; in fact,they buy lotion "accelerators" to help them absorb more UV rays. I am going to look for a reference pertaining to the safety (or should I say lack of safety) of the tanning beds. Another point is the eye damage, especially early macular degeneration (which can cause permanent blindness) and early cataracts. I know that proof of eye wear is required before going into the salon, but I've had many patients tell me that they never wear them because they don't want "raccoon eyes". They keep their eyes closed, but the rays penetrate the thin skin of the lids very easily, causing damage.
• United States
20 Jan 07
Yes! I have tried so hard to convince people to wear the little eye thingys, but as you say, they don't want the raccoon eyes. I suppose they'd rather have eyes with which they can't see? Yes, I too was taught that the tanning beds are actually more unsafe than tanning in the sun. For me, I won't do either! Yes, I look like Casper the Ghost, but that is fine with me!
@superbren (861)
19 Jan 07
in my country you cannot use a sunbed ubtil you are 18 . of course that is in a salon situation , if the kid has a sunbed at home ,rented or bought by his parents then there is no law but i would not encourage teenagers to sunbed it. i use spray tan only in my salon , i will not have sunbeds and it is very popular. its possible the kids you seen had fake tan on .
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jan 07
Good for you! The spray tan is much safer than use of a tanning bed!
@jfeets726 (775)
• United States
21 Jan 07
Yes. In our area, it is actually required. I live in NY State. I am not sure if it is a state thing or not, but all of the local tanning salons neeed parental consent for those under 18. I was a big tanner in high school. To the point that it scares me. I had a large outbreak of moles and I flipped out. I went to the skin doctors and they said everything looks okay, I am at the age where moles will pop up, but because of the tanning, he wants me to come in at least once a year to get examined. Although there is more of a focus on the dangers now, I am not really sure what parental consent would have done for me, as my mom also tanned. Sometimes she still tans to this day. It can get really addicting and I know, unfortuently, first hand.
@MellieC (783)
• United States
20 Jan 07
Oh yes! I hate that these girls are going to the tanning beds and completely messing up their skin! They fry themselves to get that "sun kissed" glow. They probably don't realize what they are doing to their skin and what the consequences can be for them later in life. I think parental consent in some cases should be required but then again in the South (where I am and where I'm from) the mothers probably go there too.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
I think this idea is pretty ridiculous. I believe that tanning beds are dangerous, and I (and all three of my children) have VERY fair, sensitive skin. So fair that if I'm in the sun in the spring or summer for over 15 minutes without sunscreen I'll begin to burn. In the area I live in, tanning beds are in. Two college towns within 20 minutes of my hometown, and a small city in the other direction. The majority of the women I attend college classes with have a nice, brown complection (I assume, from tanning beds-since we're in the middle of winter here in Virginia). All the tanning places around my area run specials (ex. $49 for 2 months unlimited tanning). I've been in a tanning bed once, when I was around 15 and it was horrible. I was only in it for 10 minutes and was horribly burned. I believe parents should counsel their children and advise them of the risks associated with tanning beds (and tanning in the sunlight, for that matter!). If your child is going to tanning beds, you will be able to tell-by their skin! There are enough regulations for children, this would just add to them. In my opinion , this is a parental issue, not a legal one. Parental consent should be used for other, more dangerous situations that parents have little control over in the first place.
@wrdsofwisdm (1070)
• United States
20 Jan 07
I think parental approval for those under 18 should be mandatory for tanning beds. Anything that can harm one's child should not be done without his/her parent's approval. Besides, these companies could be held liable and should think about long term...law suits rather than short term... cash in the register. With all of the available data that is on the internet alone, teens should do their homework before jumping into tanning beds, getting pierced, tattoos, or even asking for plastic surgery. The "It won't happen to me" thought doesn't apply with a generation that has so much information at their fingertips.
@Dolcerina (3380)
• Hungary
19 Jan 07
The tanning bed is a very good and pratical thing. It is (unfortunatelly) better than the sun. I think the parents should control their children in usage. So they should make them understood how much is healthy enough.
• United States
19 Jan 07
yes, young girls need much guidance about the health issues regarding use of tanning beds! ACtually, I have been told that damage from the tanning beds is worse than damage from the sun.
@Dolcerina (3380)
• Hungary
19 Jan 07
If the time of using the tanning bed is under control, it doesn't damage the skin.
@Dolcerina (3380)
• Hungary
19 Jan 07
The sun rays contains ultraviolet C too, what is bad.
• United States
19 Jan 07
I have not heard of this. But, I would opt for parents consent. These kids don't know or care about health issues. At that age they are more into fashion and being one of the crowd.
• United States
19 Jan 07
I agree that parental consent is needed. Sadly, in my town, the parents all tan in the beds and ENCOURAGE their children to do the same!
• United States
20 Jan 07
roflmao!!
@sexymuma (1261)
20 Jan 07
yes i feel that there should be an age limit for the use of sun beds,i heard on the news the other day that in england the have coin operated sun beds so there is no one on site to guide anyone on the use of the sun beds that they have installed on these premises,lol xxx
• United States
20 Jan 07
which must also mean that the bed isn't wiped with a disinfectant between patrons. YUK!!
@armywifey (883)
• United States
28 Jan 07
I know that you do have to have parental consent to use a tanning bed in my state. They make you parent came in the first time and fill out a form that allows you access to use the tanning beds. I think this is a good idea that the parents can make the decision about whether they want their children using the tanning beds. It also gives them the option of taking about the effects and such and making an informed decision.
@carmat (2850)
• Canada
27 Jan 07
I would have to agree it would be a good idea, it may be difficult to understand but it is potentially harming than a parent should be allowed to have the final say if a child should or should not participate in this activity.
@kmgupta (561)
• India
20 Jan 07
no this is not required at all
• Canada
20 Jan 07
That is the policy we have here in Canada, but I do not know how close it is adhered to. Messing with your skin under 18 should need parental consent.
@kminer (101)
• United States
20 Jan 07
I'm pretty sure in our area a parent has to give consent. I have a friend who has a teen daughter and she's had to go with her daughter to the tanning bed and tell them it was okay for her to let her daughter tan.
• Philippines
20 Jan 07
i guess its just fair for the minors to ask permission from their parents first before going into a tanning salon. Tanning beds are so in in US now and most americans are very prone to skin cancer because of their light skin. I mean if they cant do it under the sun (tanning) then they would do it in a tanning salon. So maybe more or less something is wrong. Some kids are prone to peer pressure that even if its bad for them, as long as they are in theyll go on and do it. so i guess its just safe for all of us to ask consent from parents if were still minors. after all, if nothings wrong why will they counter, right?
@kmgupta (561)
• India
20 Jan 07
no parental consent is not at ll required
@abhiquest (580)
• India
20 Jan 07
I think proper counselling and understanding is required on the subject matter. Even if the children are not matured, they would be matured soon. SO we should try to supply them with correct knowledge. Looking by the response to the discussion and my own experience, I think we parents also need some counselling on this matter from an expert.