Instant Noodles & Microwaveable Soups Have Landed Thousands of Kids in the ER
New research being presented at the 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference found that microwavable noodle and soup products are responsible for 1 in 5 scald burns that send children to the emergency room every year.
November 5, 2018
Microwaveable soups and instant noodles make for a convenient, quick, not to mention budget-friendly meal, but they're not necessarily the safest bet for kids, according to news out of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, research being presented at the 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference this week states that microwavable noodle and soup products are responsible for 1 in 5 scald burns that send children to the emergency room every year.
"Scald burns are a major cause of preventable injury among children, and our research found that instant soup spills are responsible for a large number of these painful burns,” Dr. Courtney Allen, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Emory University, Atlanta, and the study’s author, said in a statement.
Dr. Allen and the other researchers involved in the study examined National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data from 2006 to 2016, looking for children with scald burn injuries caused by either microwavable instant soup, instant noodles, cup of soup, or the hot water used for making noodles. Children aged 5 and under are at higher risk for scald burns, which are also the most common type of burn injury in the U.S., according to the Burn Institute. The type of thermal burn is defined as one caused by something wet, like hot liquid or steam.
They concluded that the soup products are the culprit behind over 9,500 burn injuries each year among children ages 4 to 12. About 40% of the injuries happened to the torso, but other parts of the body were affected, as well, such as the lower extremities, legs and feet, and then the upper extremities, including the arms and hands. Researchers also noted that the average age of the kids affected by these burns was 7, and 57% of the children were female.
"Instant soups and noodles in prepackaged cups and bowls may seem simple to prepare just by adding water and microwaving them," Dr. Allen said in the statement. "But once they're heated up they become a dangerous burn risk. Caregivers need to closely supervise younger children who might otherwise get hurt if cooking for themselves."
The researchers didn't nail down the specifics about how exactly these injuries occurred, but they do recommend that the manufacturers of microwaveable soup consider a new design that would prevent spills from occurring as readily. Fingers crossed this research helps to expedite that change and, in turn, preempts further injuries.