20 per cent of childhood scalding burns caused by instant soup products
Microwavable instant soup products are responsible for scalding nearly 10,000 children each year, according to new U.S. research.
The study was conducted by Dr. Courtney Allen, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., and her colleagues. The team inspected data from 2006 to 2016 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which collects information on consumer product-related injuries in the U.S., to identify children who were burned from microwavable instant soup, instant noodles, cup of soup, or water for making those products.
The researchers found that injuries from instant soup products accounted for more than 20 per cent of pediatric scald burns in emergency rooms. According to the national dataset, 9,500 children between the ages of four and 12 were affected by scald burns on an annual basis.
“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,” Allen said in a news release on Friday.
The data also showed that seven-year-old children suffered the highest number of instant soup-related burns. Girls received more scald burns than boys with 57 per cent of victims identified as female, according to the research.
As for children were suffering the most burns, the study said the torso was the most common area on the body, accounting for 40 per cent of all injuries.
The study’s authors said the results should serve as a warning to caregivers who should provide additional supervision when children are preparing or eating instant soup products.
“Instant soups and noodles in prepackaged cups and bowls may seem simple to prepare just by adding water and microwaving them,” Allen said. “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 also said the statistics can provide insight for those working in the food industry who may want to consider changes to their packaging to prevent injuries. For example, designing soup containers to be more stable so they don’t tip over and spill, Allen said.
Allen will present the findings of the study at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2018 National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Fla. on Monday.
Photo: AP/Andy Wong