06/06/2012 12:11 BST

Baby Beauty Pageants: Mother Lauren Jackson Defends Right To Tan Toddler

A mother has defended her decision to give her two-year-old daughter spray tans and professional make overs.

Beauty pageant winner Savanna Jackson entered her first contest at just 10-months-old and now undergoes monthly tanning sessions.

She stands in a special tent while being sprayed with an air brush and a tanning roller is then used to even out any blotchy patches.

Her mother Lauren Jackson - who spends up to $3,000 (£1,937) each month taking Savanna to pageants - says the process is perfectly safe and her daughter "loves" her darker skin tone.

The mother of two year old Savanna has defended her decision to give her daughter spray tans

She said: "I just want her to have the best possible opportunity to win. Besides, Savanna loves it. Now, it’s a must for every pageant.

"To me the pageants are about having fun, building up her self-esteem, and giving my girl the best possible opportunity in life.

"When I see Savannah on that stage, her confidence blossoming, it’s worth every penny. I’m so proud of my tanned toddler."

Lauren, from Michigan, USA, first entered Savanna into a 'natural pageant' - which allows little or no make-up and limited amounts of embellishments on the gown or dress - when she was just 10-months-old.

Savanna is not allowed to have her face fake tanned as her mother fears her young skin will absorb chemicals

To the delight of the family Savanna won, and bitten by the bug, Lauren entered her into more and more pageants.

Lauren, 26, said: "I wasn’t surprised when she won - she’s gorgeous, however I was wary of moving onto more glitzy pageants.

"But Savanna loved the attention and being on stage made her happier than I’d ever seen her before.

"Her enthusiasm convinced me to give the more glamorous pageants a try."

Her mother says the two-year-old "loves being on stage"

Within a year Lauren, Savanna and grandmother Sherry were travelling up and down the USA competing in pageants.

Savanna now receives monthly spray tans before every competition while a professional make-up artist applies eye-liner, mascara, lipstick and neatens her delicate eyebrows.

Lauren said: "I'd seen another contestant with a tan and not wanting the other girls to have an unfair advantage, I got her one too.

"I was worried it might harm her young skin, so I consulted my doctor who reassured me there would be no side effects and it was 100 per cent safe.

"They don’t spray tan her face as I don’t want her swallowing any of the tanning chemicals.

"They then use make-up on her face to make sure the colour matches."

Her mother feels there is a line "but I strongly feel I’ve kept Savanna on the right side of it."

Lauren has even invested in a modelling coach to teach Savanna, now aged three, how to walk down the catwalk and work on her poses.

She still enters Savanna into natural beauty pageants - as well as the more glitzy versions - because she feels it is important to teach her daughter that she does not need a lot of make-up to feel beautiful.

She added: "There is a line but I strongly feel I’ve kept Savanna on the right side of it.

"I’d never even consider surgery or botox - she already wears more make-up than I do!