CHICAGO (AP) — On a typical June day last year, 3-year-old Jolan Jackson was sitting at the dining room table in his booster chair waiting for his meal.
Having just boiled a cup of water in the microwave, Jolan’s teenage sister poured the hot liquid into a Cup Noodle foam container and placed it on the table, according to a complaint filed in March against the maker of the soup in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
In the next few minutes, the soup cup somehow tipped over, spilling its hot contents onto Jolan’s lap and leaving him with second- and third-degree burns that required 15 days in the hospital and months of follow-up surgeries, the complaint said.
“He was in tremendous pain,” said Jolan’s mother, Latisha Beam. “By the time I got to the hospital he was on a morphine drip and the skin had peeled and rolled off so that it was just pink and raw.”
Scaldings are the most common burns suffered by children admitted to hospitals and burn units across the nation, according to national burn statistics. And although some children are scalded by boiling pots on the stove or overly hot tap water, physicians report that many others are injured by soup, including the kind made in disposable foam cups.
Roughly 30 to 40 percent of the kids treated for burns at Stroger Hospital “are there for hot soup scaldings,” said hospital spokeswoman Marisa Kollias. “These cases remain all too common in our burn unit.” Another analysis of burns at Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California found that soup burns caused about 8 percent of all burn admissions.
Either estimate suggests that soup scalds thousands of children nationwide each year, with an estimated 30,000 people younger than 20 treated for scalds of all types each year, according to a 2010 epidemiological review published in the Pediatric Annals.