“It never entered my mind that noodle soup could do this degree of damage to a child,” said Beam, who works full time and attends nursing school at night. “But when I found out how many other children had been burned like this, I decided that I had to do something to get them to change their design. Because no child, and especially no 3-year-old, should have to suffer this degree of pain over a cup of noodles.”
Nissin, which did not comment beyond its statement, said the design of its soup cup has evolved over four decades “to reflect changing consumer needs and patterns of use, all in accordance with applicable regulations and guidelines.”
The family’s attorney, Matthew Pawa of Newton Centre, Mass., said the fact that the product has been sold for nearly 40 years only shows that Nissin “has been marketing a defective product for a long time that continues to harm people.”
“All indications from all sources is that lots and lots of kids are getting burned by this product,” Pawa said. “Every burn center in the country is seeing cases every week from a company marketing this top-heavy cup with a narrow base.”
Burn doctors say hot liquid burns are especially dangerous for the very young.
“Children have thinner skin and greater susceptibility to burn injury,” said Loyola University Medical Center burn specialist Dr. Richard Gamelli. “Also, if they are wearing footy pajamas or fleecy things or diapers, they can end up with significant burns because they hold the heat and fluid.”
Children can be more severely burned by noodle soups than other types because they retain more heat and because the noodles can stick to the skin, doctors say.
Alarmed by the prevalence of scalding injuries among kids, University of Chicago researchers in 2011 examined an additional contributing factor: small children’s access to microwave ovens, where handling cups of sloshy soup can easily lead to an injury.