Mom who injected her 8-year-old with Botox is under investigation

Photo: Screengrab from ABC NewsPhoto: Screengrab from ABC NewsKerry Campbell, the California mom who boasted about giving her 8-year-old daughter Botox injections to make her a contender on the child beauty pageant circuit, is now under investigation by the San Francisco Human Services Agency, ABC News reported Friday.

The investigation began shortly after 34-year-old Campbell, a part-time aesthetician, went on Good Morning America with her daughter, Britney, to talk about using the anti-aging procedure on the third grader. The segment showed pictures of Campbell administering the shots herself.

Spray tans, eye-brow waxing, fake teeth (called "flippers"), false eyelashes, and wigs are all par for the course in the "Toddlers and Tiaras" world of kiddie beauty pageants. But Botox?

Campbell told reporter Lara Spencer that Britney was the one who wanted to try the injections, but then explained that she brought it up herself and her third grader "was all for it."

"We were getting into the pageants," Campbell recalled. "I knew she was complaining about her face, having wrinkles, and things like that."

Photo: Screengrab from ABC NewsPhoto: Screengrab from ABC NewsWhat wrinkles develop on an 8-year-old who still sports plenty of healthy baby fat? The lines and dimples that appear when she smiles, apparently. To get rid of them, Britney's mom gives her five injections of the nerve-paralyzing toxin every three months or so (she told Spencer that she gets the Botox from "a trusted source" whom she refuses to name but says is "behind the doctor scene." But earlier, she told "The Sun" that she buys the Botox online and tests it out on herself first.)

But all it takes is one slip of the needle to do significant damage. Last year, Emmy-award winning actress Dana Delany described how her dermatologist hit a nerve in her forehead, permanently deadening the nerve and causing her right eye to droop.

According to the manufacturer's website, Botox is approved for treatment of certain neurological disorders and medical problems in children, but it is not approved for cosmetic use in people younger than 18. The cosmetic form of Botox is intended to be used on the forehead only, not around the mouth or eyes (which is where Kerry was photographed injecting her 8-year-old daughter). Side effects can include problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing, and the botulinum toxin can spread to other areas, causing blurred vision, drooping eyelids, change or loss of voice, loss of bladder control, and trouble speaking.

Campbell says she's not really worried about long-term effects, and that "we don't do so much to where it's going to make a big difference." But what she's doing is enough to win the single mom an investigation from child services in California.

"As a doctor, if I'd seen this mother, I would be required to report her to protective services because it's maltreatment," said ABC News' chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser. "Any doctor who would give a parent botox to administer to their children should lose their license… there's not a state where you don't need to be a licensed doctor or under direct supervision of a doctor to inject this."

"In a young child, if you're chronically using it on the face, it may actually change the shape of your face because your muscles interact with your bones to form what your face eventually looks like," Besser added.

From the video, it's obvious that Britney doesn't really know why she puts up with the painful injections. Her mother prompts her to mention the wrinkles, and when asked how she looks after the treatments, she says, "Beautiful, pretty, all those kinds of nice words."

"It hurts sometimes," Britney admits. "It makes me nervous. But I get used to it."

"What I am doing for Britney now will help her become a star," Campbell told "The Sun" in an interview. "I know one day she will be a model, actress or singer, and having these treatments now will ensure she stays looking younger and baby-faced for longer." She swears that other pageant moms are subjecting their little princesses to the anti-aging beauty procedure, too. But pageant insiders disagree.

"This is not what pageantry is about," Valerie Walker, a veteran pageant coach, told ABC. "I'm sorry to say she's only doing a disservice to her child and will never win the title she seeks."

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