Instant noodle soup is a cheap and convenient way to warm up on a cold night. But this cheap and convenient product comes with a price – a price that your child might have to pay. The design of the instant noodle soup cup allows for the cup to be easily tipped over, making it especially attractive and dangerous to a young child. Most instant noodle cups are made of styrofoam, have a wide top, and a narrow base. When a child reaches for the cup on top of a counter or table, the cup easily tips over with the slightest pull. When the hot liquid spills out, it can burn the child’s arms, torso, and legs. What makes this product very dangerous is that the cup contains hot noodles that stick to the child’s body, causing more severe burns than hot liquid alone.
It was reported that burns from instant noodle soup are not rare injuries. Dr. Warren Garner, director of the burn unit at University of Southern California’s County Hospital in Los Angeles says that he sees instant noodle soup burns on two to three patients per week. He says that about one in five children who suffer instant noodle soup burns will need surgery. These children could have permanent scarring and limited mobility as a result of the burns. Dr. Garner says this particular injury is directly related to the design of the soup cup.
It appears that some soup cups are more dangerous than others. Soup cups that are tall with a wide top and narrow base tip over three times more easily than soup cups that are square or have a wide base. Instant noodle soup has been on the market for 40 years. The design of the cup has remained virtually unchanged for most manufacturers. Dr. David Greenhalgh, Chief of Burns at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Northern California, and the author of a study entitled “Instant Cup of Soup: Design Flaws Increase Risk of Burns,” recommends that manufacturers invert the soup cup to resemble a Yoplait yogurt container. The cup would be narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. According to Dr. Greenhalgh, this design would be a low-cost solution to the current designs that are tip-over prone. If you would like more information on instant soup cup defects, please contact Cole Portis at Cole.Portis@beasleyallen.com.
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