A hot bowl of ramen makes a delightful meal or snack for children or adults. But when we give it to kids, we might not realise that what we’re doing is handing them a bowl of near-boiling water — especially if the soup is straight out of the microwave.
Offspring editor Meghan Walbert mentioned recently that she’d heard ramen is one of the top causes of burns in children. It turns out that a 2018 study found that instant ramen and other instant soups cause one in five childhood scalds (burns from liquid).
“I think there’s an assumption that these are safer than soups coming [off] of a stove,” pediatric emergency fellow Courtney Allen told CNN. But if the soup spills onto a child’s lap, the resulting burn can be large and severe, possibly requiring skin grafts.
So be extra careful, even if that cup of noodles doesn’t feel like it’s too hot. Seattle Children’s Hospital recommends transferring instant soups to a bowl before serving children, because bowls are less likely to tip over than many of those tall microwaveable cups.
Scalds can happen with other hot liquids, too, of course. Seattle Children’s also suggests cooling all food to a safe temperature before placing it on the table, not using tablecloths (because young kids may pull on them and dump food into their laps) and serving any hot drinks, like cocoa, in a travel mug with a lid. Scalds are most common with children under 4, but they also have a tip for older kids: make sure they are eating hot soups at the table, not out of a bowl held in their laps.
If your child does suffer a scalding, the American Burn Association says to run cool (not cold) water over the burn and to remove any clothing or diapers on the burned area. Seek medical attention for any serious burn.