Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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The Hazards of Hot Soup

A young boy eating hot soup

Nearly one of every five burns that send children to emergency rooms are from instant soups and noodles.These microwavable, prepackaged products, say researchers, injure more than 9,500 kids between the ages of 4 and 12 each 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,” says Courtney Allen, a pediatric emergency fellow at Emory who led the research with colleagues. “It’s important for us and for parents to remember that these are just thin containers with boiling water in them.” The researchers examined National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data from 2006 to 2016 to identify pediatric patients whose scald burns were caused by either microwavable instant soup, instant noodles, cups of soup, or water for making instant soup. The peak age for instant soup spill injuries was 7, and the most commonly burned area of the body was the child’s torso (40 percent of the injuries.)

“Caregivers need to closely supervise younger children who might otherwise get hurt if cooking for themselves,” Allen says, adding that manufacturers could also make the containers more stable.

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