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Ovation: New Jersey’s ‘Tan Mom’ Law.

04/03/2013

tanningbedI used to make a point of going to a tanning bed a few times before heading to the beach for vacation.  With a history of bad sunburn, I figured I’d rather be sore and miserable at the office before leaving town that on my actual vacation.  I’d start a few weeks before my trip, work my way up to a full session and have a “base tan” before I got to the beach.  I’ve never been one for “sunning” because lounging around the pool bores me and I find absolutely nothing relaxing about laying in the sand at the beach yet I burn at every opportunity.  Looking back, I think the worst sunburns I’ve ever had may have been intentional and self-inflicted … in a tanning bed.

Kids in New Jersey won’t be burning in tanning beds now that Governor Chris Christie has signed a bill into law banning youngsters under seventeen from using commercial tanning beds.  Christie said that while he does not favor government regulation of small business, the new law, instigated by the case of a local woman accused of taking her five-year-old daughter into a tanning booth is important for protecting the safety of minors.

“Governmental regulation of the private sector should always be carefully scrutinized, and sparingly adopted.  The new restrictions imposed by this bill followed a single but breathlessly reported incident of a parent bringing a minor child into a tanning facility.” – New Jersey Governor, Christ Christie.

The woman who brought the issue to light, Patricia Krentcil of Nutley, New Jersey, was arrested in April 2012 after her daughter showed up at school with a sunburn and officials accused her of taking the child into a tanning booth.  Krentcil, who became known in tabloid stories as the “Tan Mom,” testified that her own unusually dark-colored skin was the result of many hours spent under the intense ultraviolet light of a tanning bed or out in the sun soaking up rays.  She denied exposing her daughter to a tanning session, and a grand jury opted not to indict her on charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

Before the new law, New Jersey was already one of several states that have regulations prohibiting anyone age fourteen or younger from tanning with commercial ultraviolet devices because of the risk of skin cancer.  The new law extends that ban to New Jersey’s older teenagers.  Going forward youth age seventeen and under must have a parent or guardian present for an initial consultation with a tanning salon.

I always say that I’m disgusted by the fact that we need a license to catch a fish but not to be a parent.  It’s sad that the government finds it necessary to intervene on behalf of children when their parents don’t use good judgment.  But I’d much rather see an arguably unnecessary law like this than a charred child.

Do you think this law is necessary?

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2 Comments
  1. Part of me thinks the law is unnecessary, but we have laws protecting kids from cigarettes and alcohol until they reach a certain age, and maybe keeping them from burning themselves to a crisp, and running the risk of skin cancer, is a good thing.
    If, IF, they can’t get parents to actually parent their own children.

    Like

  2. You can’t fix stupid, but maybe you can help prevent them from hurting a child.

    Like

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