Instant Soup Sends a Shocking Number of Kids to the ER Every Year
It happens way more often than you’d think.
Roughly two out of every 10 scald burns that send children to the ER are caused by instant soups or noodles, according to a new study. That’s almost 10,000 ER visits every year.
"We suspect that, in terms of risk, parents may think things coming out of the microwave may be somewhat safer than things coming off the stove," said study author Dr. Courtney Allen, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Emory University in Atlanta.
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For the study, the researchers reviewed data from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2006 to 2016. They looked for kids aged 4 to 12 with scald burns caused by microwavable instant soup, instant noodles, cups of soup, or water for making instant soup.
Fortunately, most of these burns are minor and heal within one or two weeks. Still, they can be painful and distressing for children and their parents.
"We do see instant soup and noodle burns with kids in this age group," says Dr. Michael Cooper, director of Staten Island University Hospital's burn center in New York City. "These burns are painful, but most appear to be superficial," he explained.
More often than not, Cooper says, a parent has heated the prepackaged container of soup and given it to the child--who then knocks it over or spills it.
Cooper suggests taking the noodles or soup from the original container and transferring them to a bowl the child is accustomed to using.