A cup of noodles is the basis for a lawsuit recently filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Latisha Beam filed suit against Nissin, manufacturer of instant Cup Noodles, alleging its defectively designed cup and inadequate warnings caused second and third degree groin and leg burns to her son, necessitating skin grafts and 15 days in the hospital.
The boy’s sister made herself a cup of noodles, which inadvertently tipped over into the boy’s lap and scalded him.
Research shows that burns, specifically from soup, are all-too-common among young children. 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.
A CBS report on the story shows how some burn doctors have seen too many burn cases involving instant noodles, and think a modified design is “simple.”
Either estimate suggests 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.
The mother of the son said, “It never entered my mind that noodle soup could do this degree of damage to a child,” 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.”
The family alleges that if the cup had a wider base and was more stable, fewer children and product users would be injured.
Nissin claims its cup design evolved over four decades “to reflect changing consumer needs and patterns of use, all in accordance with applicable regulations and guidelines.”
While in this particular case there may have been some negligence on the part of the teenager, there may be merit as to the issue of stability of the cup. Research into industry standards and discovery of quality control, testing and expert opinion will further clarify the issue.
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