An Alarming Number of Kids are Badly Burned Each Year by Instant Soup
The number of children burned each year by microwavable soup will shock you.
On a chilly day or if you are feeling under the weather, soup is the perfect meal. Those who are fans of instant soup—college students, I’m looking at you—don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen whipping up homemade soup because all they need is a microwave. However, the convenient containers that instant soups come in are now causing major concerns for parents of young children after startling research says microwave instant soup is sending thousands of kids to the hospital each year.
According to a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, about 9,500 children between the ages of 4 and 12 go to the emergency room with burns from microwave instant soup every year. Further, for every ten children with scalding burns, two are caused by instant soup. So we aren’t talking about eating soup while it’s a little too hot and burning your tongue, but burns severe enough that the child ends up in the in the ER. Because of these staggering numbers, safety experts are calling for changes in the type of containers instant soup is sold and cooked in.
"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 for this study. "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."
Researchers say the peak age for the burns was 7-years-old and most burns occurred on the child’s torso. Dr. Allen adds that researchers and parents would like the food product industry that makes instant soup to consider structural changes to packaging of the soup to prevent injuries, like making them more difficult to tip over.
So what can parents do to help prevent these types of burns? Experts suggest pouring the soup into a regular bowl rather than serve the soup in the disposable cup, and making sure the soup is warm rather than hot. Often just a few ice cubes can quickly cool down the temperature of hot soup or placing the soup in the fridge for a few minutes can also help.