Instant Noodles a Common Cause of Burn Injury

Instant noodle soup cups pose a significant hazard to consumers, particularly those with small children. The defective design of many of these cups lends itself to causing serious burns. Tall, lightweight cups with narrow bases can be easily tipped over, causing the hot, sticky contents of the container to dump out rapidly. Children, especially toddlers, can easily tip these cups over and suffer serious burns in the process. In a recent survey, eight of the twelve burn units contacted indicated that they see several injuries every week related to this dangerous product.

The product almost seems designed to cause catastrophic burn injuries. A 2007 study showed that burns from noodle soup cups caused deeper, more severe burns than those caused by hot liquids alone. The noodles stick to the skin and transfer more damaging heat into the tissue they contact. The average hospital stay of a patient suffering this type of injury is more than twice that of a patient burned by coffee or other hot liquid.

A child who has the misfortune of upending one of these cups will likely suffer serious burns to their face, arms and chest. Approximately 20 percent will require surgery and will be left with permanent scars and limited mobility in the affected areas. Burns are among the most painful injuries and can leave mental scars, as well as physical scars that will follow a child throughout his or her life.

Consumers should be aware of the dangers posed by these soups. Choose brands that use containers with a wider base. These do not spill as easily as tall, narrow containers. Keep the soups away from children and you can help prevent an unfortunate situation.

Source: NPR, “Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup,” by Mara Zepeda, 5 December 2011