Freak accident with lime juice leaves girls with severe burns

LEMOORE, CALIF.; Sept. 4, 2013

Now their moms want to get out the word about the lime juice, combined with the power of the sun.

The 5 little girls were playing by the pool when they decided to set up a limeade stand.

Reyghan, Candy, Bailey, Jewels, and Jazmyn had fun in the bright sun that afternoon.

However, the next day, the girls woke up with painful blisters & burns on their faces, hands and legs

Denise Kinser recalls, "It was my youngest one that woke up screaming and crying, she just couldn't handle the pain. And there were big blisters that were growing quickly on her, all over her body."

Initially, each mom thought it was sunburn, but wasn't sure.

Each took their kids to the hospital, not knowing the others were dealing with the same emergency.

All 5 girls were admitted, and each needed heavy-duty pain medication.

"When the morphine wore off it was excruciating," says Melinda McDaniel.

"Nothing worse for a parent is watching your child scream and cry and there's nothing you could do for them," she continued.

While doctors treated the burns, the moms kept trying to figure out what caused the burns,

Then it clicked - the only thing that stood out was the lime juice.

"We kinda had to bring it to their attention," one mother remembers.

The doctors did some research, and then diagnosed the girls with 'phytophotodermatitis.'

According to, it's caused by a chemical in the lime. That chemical is also in other fruits, plants, and vegetables. Exposure on the skin, combined with ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause the dangerous reaction on the skin.

Sunlight reflecting off the pool water may have amplified the reaction.

After several days in intensive care, the girls will be OK, though they may have permanent scars.

And they have to limit their time in the sun.

But Stephanie Ellwanger says she's not done with this experience. She wants everyone to know what can happen.

"We want the word out. We want other parents to know, so they don't go through what we've been through," she says.

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