Rise in children’s burns injuries from instant noodles prompts warning

Rise in children’s burns injuries from instant noodles prompts warning

1 October 2023

Experts at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) are urging parents and caregivers to be extra vigilant with children around hot food and drink, following a spike in burns injuries from instant noodles.

In the last week five children have been referred to CHW after sustaining scald burns from instant noodles, with another five treated earlier in the month.

The most common injuries were burns to the thighs or genital area, caused by children accidentally spilling the boiling liquid on themselves while carrying the container or eating from their lap.

Burns have also been seen in toddlers, caused by pulling the container down from the kitchen bench or table when left to cool.

Dr Torey Lawrence, Head of the Burns Unit at CHW, said it can take less than a second for spilled instant noodles to cause a severe burn.

“Boiling water in hot noodle containers can take an hour to cool down to a safe temperature after cooking,’ Dr Lawrence said.

“This means accidents like spilling the hot water from instant noodles can cause long-lasting injuries and life-long scarring for children.

“It is important to remember hot food and drink that may be a good temperature for an adult can cause a significant burn to a child. Children’s skin is comparatively thinner than adults and even a small amount of hot liquid can cause deeper, more extensive, and more severe burns.”

The best way to prevent burns from hot food and drink in children is with close adult supervision.

“Simple measures such as always having an adult remove the container from the microwave, draining the hot water from the noodles before serving, ensuring children eat noodles at the table instead of on their lap, and using non-stick placemats can make a huge difference,’ Dr Lawrence said.

Cool running water is the only proven, effective treatment for a burn. Dr Lawrence says applying the correct first aid as soon as possible is vital.

If your child has suffered a burn, immediate first aid is vital to reduce the severity of the injury. This includes:

  • Place the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes. This will cool the burn and reduce swelling and is the only proven effective treatment.
  • Remove any clothing or jewellery where possible.
  • Never use ice, iced water, cream, gel, toothpaste, butter or anything other than cool running water.
  • Seek medical help if you have any concerns and dial 000 in the event of emergency.

For more information on burns prevention and first aid, visit the SCHN Kids Health Promotion website.


Media contact | Sarah Palmer

Phone: 0428 112 023

Email: sarah.palmer@health.nsw.gov.au



Last updated Wednesday 25th October 2023