Chadwick & Lakerdas

Protecting The Rights Of Injured People In Hyde Park Since 1986

Instant soup is much more dangerous than it looks

A new study recently sparked conversation about the hazards some instant soup containers pose to children. An abstract of the study, called "Instant Soup Scald Injuries in Children"  was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2018 National Conference and Exhibition, which was held Nov. 5 in Florida.

This study found that instant soups and noodles burn almost 10,000 children annually and are responsible for at least two of every 10 scald burns on children that require emergency medical care. A Popular Science article points out that these figures don’t even include the children whose instant soup spills only required first aid care.

Information Popular Science compiled from this and other studies map out a common plotline for these painful accidents. A young child, often one that is around 7 years old, is cooking instant soup in a microwave. After the microwave has brought the liquid in the cup up to temperature, the child reaches into the microwave. As the child stretches to reach the food, the instant soup cup, likely a tall cup with a narrow base, tips over and pours the hot liquid onto the child’s head, face or torso, scalding him or her in the process.

Researchers involved in the soup scald study recommend parents supervise any cooking a young child does and noted that the companies that make instant soup could consider changing the packaging of their products to make them safer. However, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has not taken any action to force soup companies to change their packaging.

Sometimes when a dangerous product causes a serious injury, the injured person can file a product liability lawsuit. In Illinois, product liability lawsuits must be filed within two years of someone being injured or five years of property being damaged. There are three types of liability including:

  • Strict liability, which is when defective products that are sold or leased may have an expectation to cause injury.
  • Breach of warranty, which involves a product not doing what it was designed to do.
  • Negligence, which could involve any stage in the making or selling process of the product and often involve a defect or failure to warn customers of the product’s dangers.

It is unclear if there have been any lawsuits arising out of soup scald injuries, but the shocking results of the soup scald study make it clear that more should be done to prevent this type of injury. If you are a parent, be sure to supervise your child when he or she is cooking with heat, even if it is a microwave. If you regularly keep instant soup products in your home, you can also consider shopping for soups that are more difficult to tip over, such as those that come in bowls with wide bases. Both actions can help prevent your child from being one of the many children seriously injured by instant soup every year.

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