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Doctors Warn About Hot Soup Accidents

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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hot soup in the winter is especially nice on these cold and rainy nights. But there’s a warning from doctors seeing patients in the emergency room because of mishaps with hot soup. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl shows you what to watch out for.

Instant noodle soup, it’s cheap and popular especially among young people.

“I’m a college student so that’s about all I eat,” said Alexis Lodsun, a college student.

But doctors say cups of noodles are sending many kids to the emergency room.

“It can be up to five to six patients a week between our in-patient and out-patient settings,” said Elaine Lamb, with Children’s National Hospital.

The soup can cause significant burns. The problem is after boiling the water it’s poured in to cook the noodles. The lightweight Styrofoam cups are top heavy and can tip over very easily, spilling onto and burning a child.

“Typically on their chest, their abdomen and their upper extremities,’ said Lamb, adding, “We certainly have children who do end up with skin grafts as a result of these injuries.”

Doctors say surgery is often needed because the sticky noodles burn hotter than boiling liquid, leading to deeper, more severe burns.  A danger many parents aren’t aware of.

“I was more worried about them overcooking it in the microwave and then getting it too hot,” said Curt Jackson, a father.

The National Institutes of Health says pediatric burn victims from hot soup accounts for 27 percent of those treated in a hospital.  Grease burns are responsible for 26 percent, hot water is responsible for 25 percent and hot tea or coffee is responsible for 22 percent.

Eyewitness News called one of the soup makers.  A spokesperson for Nissin said the company was looking into the reports of burns and said, “We take all comments and complaints about our products and packaging seriously.”

A group of doctors is now reportedly working with soup makers to change the product design, so the cups are bottom heavy and don’t spill over so easily.

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