Tu Bishvat – the Jewish “new year of trees,” with its joyous themes of nature
and renewal – will be marked on Shabbat. But carelessness about young children
eating nuts and dried fruits could result in tragedy.
national center for child safety and health, is warning parents and teachers to
keep youngsters up to the age of five far from such hard foods, as well as from
soft, round foods like whole grapes. In 2010, 13 children died from choking on
foreign objects, including fruits and nuts.
The most dangerous ages are
one and two, but the high risk also goes up to five, as youngsters do not have
adequate control of their natural swallowing mechanism. In addition, they do not
yet have molars for proper grinding; they are still learning to eat properly;
and their cough reflex is not well developed.
Until a baby’s first
birthday, choking on food or foreign objects is responsible for 52.7 percent of
Beterem director-general Orly Silbinger said that hot
dogs should be cut lengthwise and then into horizontal slices. Hard vegetables
and fruits such as carrots and apples must be cut into small pieces if raw, or
cooked and mashed. Chicken and meat should also be cut into chewable small
pieces, the skin and bones having first been removed.
Olives should be
Do not feed lollipops, nuts, popcorn, raisins, hard candies or
other sucking snacks to children under five. Crunchy peanut butter should also
Don’t give children up to the age of three marshmallows,
chewing gum, toffee, gumdrops or M&M-type candies. Since 2006, such foods –
packaged or not – have had to be labeled in Hebrew and Arabic as being dangerous
for consumption by young children.
Although dried fruits and nuts are
nutritious, be aware of the fact that they are high in calories, especially
those to which sugar has been added. Fruits also lose much of their vitamin
content through drying.
They do, however, contain lots of minerals and
fiber, which are beneficial.
Don’t feed young children when they are
crying, running or playing wildly.
Eating is best done when they are
sitting calmly at the table and belted into their seats.
Kayemeth LeIsrael- Jewish National Fund tree plantings are a tradition on or
around Tu Bishvat, Beterem urges that caution be taken when children are
involved. Don’t leave digging tools standing, and they should be kept out of the
reach of young children.
Buy plants from familiar shops and nurseries to
avoid poisonous species. Fill in all holes before leaving the
Meanwhile, Magen David Adom is organizing planting ceremonies for
children with disabilities.
Some of the events will take place in the