Instant noodle cups may pose serious burn risk: Report

instant noodles, cup of noodles

(CBS) Love instant noodles? Soup slurpers may be in danger, according to a new report.

A segment on NPR's "Planet Money," which aired Monday, said instant noodle soups can cause serious burns because of the cups' designs.

The cups are tall, lightweight, and have an unstable base, according to NPR, making them more likely to tip over.

For the report, NPR contacted 12 burn units at U.S. hospitals and found most victims of instant noodle burns weren't cheap college students, but children. Eight of the hospitals said they see this type of injury several times a week. One Washington D.C. hospital said during colder months they can see up to 6 patients a week with a severe soup-related burn.

Anna Beltran a nurse at the University of Southern California's County Hospital in Los Angeles used to enjoy the occasional cup of instant noodles herself, until she started working at the hospital's burn unit.

"Now I just absolutely cringe." Beltran said on the radio program. "I could be at a supermarket paying for my groceries, look behind me, and there's a mom with two young children buying a big pack of cup of noodles and I just can't help but ask her to please be careful."

Noodle soup is "strangely perfect" for causing serious burns, says NPR. Noodles conduct and retain heat longer than other foods, and are sticky, allowing noodles to cling to the skin, causing serious deep burns. A 2007 study in the Journal of Burn Care & Research showed hospital stays from noodle soup burns can be twice as long as stays from other hot liquids.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told CBS News in an email that he's seen scald burns from soup cups on children's hands, fingers, arms, legs, and genital organs.

"Some serious enough that a number of toddlers required transfer to a burn unit," Glatter said.

He recommends that parents transfer the contents from the cups into a bowl to reduce potential for spillage, and should supervise kids when eating hot noodle soups.

Glatter also said parents "may want to consider other meal options for children and toddlers."