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Kids’ Burns Are Often Caused By One Surprising Food

It's not what you'd expect.


From college kids to little kids, everyone loves instant ramen. But as a parent, those nostalgic noodles might be more foe than friend, at least when it comes to your own children. Because according to a new study, 1 in 5 pediatric scald burns are caused by instant soups, which yes, include those beloved ramen packs and Cup Noodles.

Researchers at Emory University found that from 2006 to 2016, the microwaveable soups sent almost 10,000 kids between the ages of 4 and 12 years old to the emergency room for burns. That shockingly high number translates to 21.5% of all injuries classified as scald burns, which are a result of hot liquids or steam and can be very serious.

“Instant soups and noodles in prepackaged cups and bowls may seem simple to prepare just by adding water and microwaving them,” study author Dr. Courtney Allen explains. “But once they’re heated up they become a dangerous burn risk.

And while we know where the burns are primarily taking place (on the torso, followed the arms and legs), we don’t know exactly why they’re happening. “Is it because they’re pulling it down themselves from the microwave? Is it because when they walk they’re not coordinated enough and they spill? Or is it actually when they’re eating it that it’s tipping?” questions Allen who will present the current findings on Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference.

All questions worth investigating—which is exactly what researchers will be doing during the next phase of the study, where they’ll observe kids carrying fake cups of soup (filled with something other than burning hot liquid, of course) to try to figure out the exact cause.

But until then, it’s okay to let your child (safely) nosh on noodles, Allen says. “If you’re going to let your children independently cook, carry and consume these products, they do need adequate supervision.”