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/ Source: TODAY
By A. Pavlovsky
Instant soups and noodles prepared in the microwave can also harm a child immediately.
The products, which many families turn to for quick, convenient snacks or meals, are responsible for the burning of nearly 10,000 children aged 4 to 12 years each year. They cause at least two in ten scalds that bring children to emergency rooms.
The results will be presented on Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics conference in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Courtney Allen, one of the authors and pediatric emergency medical fellow at Emory University, began investigating the trend after realizing that many young patients with burns who came to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta were imminent had presented to the injury microwaveable instant soup products.
"We keep seeing the story of 'Oh, he wore soup" or "He pulled soup out of the microwave," Allen said TODAY.
"We were definitely surprised by the (injury figures) … This is a large number that could possibly prevent these injuries due to education and other considerations."
For the study, Allen and her colleagues analyzed the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data from 2006 to 2016. They looked for children whose scalding caused by microwaveable instant soups, instant noodles, a cup of soup, or water for making instant soups were.
They found that more than 9,500 children ages 4 to 12 were scalded by these products every year. The maximum age for injury was 7 and the most commonly burned body area was the torso.
The cases in the database covered every stage of the cooking and eating, including the children who were injured while removing the soup from the microwave or with the cup through the room, Allen noted.
The injuries included first, second and third degree burns, although 90 percent of young patients were discharged from the emergency room after treatment, she added.
What makes instant soup and pasta a burn risk?
Many people assume that heating a liquid in the microwave is safer than reaching for something out of the oven. But microwave-filled water can be just as hot as water, Allen said.
The results show the need to closely observe a child who cooks, carries or eats instant soups or noodles.
"One of the most important things to remember is that no matter how old your child is and what product you use, liquids that have been microwave heated pose a risk," Allen said.
Many of the cups in which the products are sold have a narrow base and are large, so they easily tip over, Dr. Natalie Azar, NBC News Medical Associate. In addition, the noodles are very sticky.
"So when a small child comes to a table and pulls the cup slightly, the noodles stick to it and can cause severe burns that require the child to undergo surgery," Azar said.
Noodle soup burns cause significantly longer hospital stays than other types of soups, as pasta stays hot longer and "the cooling curve for noodle soup is much slower," a study found.
Look for a cup with a wider base or keep it out of the reach of children, advised Azar.
The industry may want to consider changing the container design or a warning sign that alerts parents that children should not carry these products, Allen said.
If your child was burned:
The US National Library of Medicine contains the following first aid tips for minor burns:
- If your child's clothing does not adhere to the burn, remove it.
- Use cold water but no ice to relieve the pain and limit the extent of the burn. Keep the burned skin under cold running water for 10 to 15 minutes. If this is not possible, put a cool, clean, wet cloth on the surface.
- If the burn is deeper, bigger, or on the hand, foot, face, groin, buttocks, hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, or wrists, seek medical attention immediately.
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