If you listed all the reasons why you should stay away from those microwavable cups of soup, I bet you wouldn’t think to put this on the list. It might save you or a child in your care from getting some serious burns.


Burn doctors hate instant soup because every day children end up in the hospital with serious burns from the hot broth and noodles from instant soup cups that have tipped over. Think about how often children tip over a cup of milk or juice, sometimes more than once in a single meal. So when they’re served a hot soup in a cup, it makes sense that these cups of soup would get tipped over frequently.


Noodle soup in a cup is the worst offender when it comes to sending children to the hospital because noodles stick to the skin, leading to “deeper more severe burns.” About 20 percent of the children seen because of upper body noodle soup burns end up needing surgery, according to Dr. Warren Garner of University of Southern California's County Hospital in Los Angeles.


Some soup cups are more dangers than others. The ones that are truly shaped like a drinking cup are the most dangerous. Just think of a toddler that’s strapped into a high chair or booster seat spilling one of those just-microwaved cups down his front. He can’t jump out of the way as the soup spills; he’s strapped in. For the same reason, he can’t stand up quickly and shake the soup off. He has to sit there until an adult comes to help. When it comes to burns, the seconds it takes to help a child make a difference.


So how do you keep these cups from spilling on a child in your care? The answer is simple; don’t serve soup from them. If you do choose the convenience of instant soup in a cup, take a moment to transfer the soup into a bowl that can’t be as easily tipped over. And take care not to serve scalding hot soup to children. Let it cool.


Of course, these instant cups of noodle soup are high in sodium, often contain MSG, and contain little nutritional value. An even better solution is to not serve these soups at all. Make a big batch of soup that you can freeze in individual servings to pull out when you need a quick, convenient meal.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Upper body noodle-soup burns send children to hospital daily
Cups of instant soup may sound convenient, but they’re not so convenient for the children that end up in the hospital every day because of burns caused when t