This Food Injures 10,000 Children Each Year

File photo.

CNN – A common food item may put young children at risk, according to new research to be presented Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference.

Instant soup – often sold as “ramen” in the United States – is cheap, tasty and wildly popular among hungry college students.

But the soups cause about one in five childhood scald burns.

Those findings have led some experts to question the safety of the meals, which often come in microwavable cups.

“It’s important for us to remember, and for parents to remember, that these are just thin containers with boiling water in them,” said Dr. Courtney Allen, a pediatric emergency fellow at Emory University who led the research.

“I think there’s an assumption that these are safer than soups coming out of a stove,” she said, “when, in fact, they’re not.”

Thousands of burns every year

Allen’s research team looked at more than 4,500 pediatric scald burns recorded over nearly an 11-year period. They then scoured the data, which considered children 4 to 12 years old, for keywords such as “instant soup,” “instant noodles” and “cup of soup.”

The researchers found 972 injuries associated with microwaving the products, making up 21.5% of all scald burns in their sample. They estimated that instant soups are to blame for nearly 10,000 pediatric burns in the United States every year.

Researchers found that more than 90% of children burned by instant soup were discharged from the emergency department after evaluation. But scald burns — which are caused by liquids or steam instead of dry heat — can sometimes require hospitalization and even surgery.

“To be honest with you, it’s a very, very common story,” said Dr. David Greenhalgh, chief of burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California and former president of the American Burn Association.

“They knock [the soup] over, and it spills onto their lap,” said Greenhalgh … Read more. 


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