Warning to parents over 'split-second' mistake after rise in injuries

Doctors say they've seen a spike in burns that can lead to life-changing injuries.

Instant noodles are responsible for a recent spike in burn injuries in children, urging health authorities to flag the potential danger these popular snacks pose during the school holidays.

Parents are being warned to be 'extra vigilant' after five children have been treated for scalds in the last week at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney — with the hospital treating 10 burns injuries in the last month.

“Boiling water in hot noodle containers can take an hour to cool down to a safe temperature after cooking. This means accidents like spilling the hot water of instant noodles can cause long-lasting injuries and life-long scarring for children,” Dr Torey Lawrence, Head of the Burns Unit at Children's Hospital at Westmead, said.

Instant noodles seen on a supermarket shelf.
The burns unit at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney has treated 10 burn injuries in the last month from instant noodles. Source: Getty

Child suffers 1.5 degree burns after spilling instant noodle on her lap

Dakota, 11, was recently on her way to swimming lessons when she accidentally spilt instant noodles on her lap and suffered 1.5 degree burns on her thigh and torso.

“The scream was one I’ll never forget,” Dakota’s mum, Monika, said. “All it took was a split-second for the cup to pour all over.”

According to The Sydney children's Hospitals Network, children commonly suffer burn injuries on their thighs and genital area after accidentally spilling the hot instant noodles while eating from their lap or carrying the container.

Left, Dokota, 11, can be seen smiling at the camera. Right, her injuries can be seen.
Dokota, 11, recently suffered burn injuries from hot instant noodles. Source: The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Dakota was treated and is expected to make a full recovery in the coming weeks thanks to her mum's quick actions.

“I knew from first aid to use cool running water on a burn in the first instance so we poured water from a bottle over Dakota, and I drove her straight home where she had a cold shower for 25 minutes,” Monika said. “This made a huge difference to decreasing the severity of the burns and managing her pain.”

How to enjoy the popular snack safely

Dr Lawrence recommends "simple measures" to significantly reduce the likelihood of a child being burnt while eating hot instant noodles.

"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,” he said.

What to do if a child burns themself with hot liquid

Immediate first aid is vital for reducing the burn's severity:

The image has a red background, with 1. Seek Assistance. 2. Remove clothing and jewellery. 3. Cool the burn with cool running water for 20 minutes. 4. Cover the burn loosely with cling wrap or a clean. damp lint-free cloth.
What to do if a child suffers a scald. Source: Yahoo News Australia
  • Seek medical help if there are any concerns and dial triple-0 in an emergency.

  • Place the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes.

  • Remove any clothing or jewellery where possible.

  • Cover the injury loosely with cling-film or a damp, lint-free cover.

Using ice or any kind of ointment or home remedy is strongly discouraged, with 79 per cent of severe burns to children occurring at home. Hot beverages are the most common cause of scald injury, KidSafe reports.

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