ORLANDO, Fla. — Scald burns, a major cause of preventable injuries among children, are commonly caused by instant soups and noodles, with 20% of pediatric injuries caused by these products, according to research presented at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition.
“I think pediatricians have a big role to play in preventing these injuries, especially general pediatricians,” Courtney Allen, DO, an emergency medicine fellow at Emory University, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “At every visit and annual check-up, pediatricians give anticipatory guidance. I think it is very important to discuss this topic when children become more mobile, independent and curious. We need to remind parents that kids who are able to grip a cup and walk might get distracted and might not be as coordinated.”
Allen analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to determine how many pediatric patients were treated between Jan. 2006 and Dec. 2016 for scald injuries related to instant soup, instant noodles and soup cup products as well as water heated for making soup. Children who were included in the analysis were aged between 4 and 12 years.
According to the data collected from the surveillance system, 4,518 scald burns were reported during the study period. It was estimated that 9,521 children aged between 4 and 12 years are affected by scald burns annually in the United States. Instant soups were the cause of 21.5% of these cases, and the average patient age was 7.22 years. Nearly half of patients were male, and when race was reported, 48.8% of patients were black.
Research presented at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition shows that instant soups, noodles and soup cup products are the cause of nearly 25% of all scald burn injuries sustained by children.
Scald injuries were most commonly sustained to the trunk (40.1%). Almost all injuries were treated in the ED and were discharged from the initial visit (90.4%). No fatalities were reported.
“Children need to be adequately supervised,” Allen said. “It is the main form of prevention [of soup-related scald injuries]. I think education is the first step to get this message out to parents and pediatricians. More research is needed to see if something can be adjusted with product design to make these products safer.” – by Katherine Bortz
Allen C, et al. Instant soup scald injuries in children. Presented at: AAP National Conference & Exhibition; Nov. 2-6, 2018; Orlando, Fla.
Disclosure: Allen reports no relevant financial disclosures.