A health expert today called for unmanned tanning salons to be banned after a teenager who used one suffered severe burns.

Kirsty McRae spent 19 minutes on a coin-operated sunbed at the Lextan salon, Barry, South Wales, as she was "feeling pale".

But the 14-year-old collapsed after having a bath at home that night and was rushed to hospital with first degree burns.

Julie Barratt, director of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Wales, said: "These salons should be banned because there is no effective way of controlling them.

"No public health practitioner likes to say 'I told you so', but we have done.

"To have sunbeds where juveniles can use them as often as they would like is very dangerous.

"If Kirsty had had more money with her and stayed on for longer, who knows what could have happened?"

The salon's owner James Hadley said it was an "awful situation" and that he now wanted to speak with Kirsty and her family.

He said signs on the door indicate under 16s are not allowed in, and that Kirsty should have also paid attention to posters and leaflets inside the salon urging safe use of the sunbeds.

Jill McRae, Kirsty's mother, told the South Wales Echo: "This is a condition that Kirsty is partly responsible for, but it just beggars belief that anyone can put money into a slot and do this amount of damage to themselves.

"I said no when Kirsty asked about getting a spray tan - I'm now wishing that I had said yes."

Kirsty, who spent the night in hospital after visiting Lextan on Monday afternoon, told the newspaper: "I was feeling pale and just wanted a tan."

A health and safety investigation has now been launched by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Mr Hadley insisted his business operates within the law. He said the salon is manned from 3pm to 4pm, and from 7pm to 9pm, in a bid to prevent underage users entering.

He said: "It has upset me because I have cousins of a similar age and I wouldn't want this to happen to them.

"Unfortunately, this girl chose to ignore the warnings. Nineteen minutes is far too long for most skin types.

"I would like to speak to the family. It's an awful situation when your child goes into hospital.

"I try to do things as ethically as possible and within the law."

A sign on the salon door advertises four minutes' use of the sunbeds for £1.

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