Bicycle and helmet [illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The increasingly widespread use of electric bicycles is making safety authorities nervous about Yom Kippur, when many children – and adults – will hit the roads and could be unpleasantly surprised by vehicles racing down near-empty streets.
Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety, urged on Tuesday that children wear suitable helmets while on wheels.
A 2011 amendment eliminated the helmet requirement for adults in cities, but helmets are still known to save lives.
Beterem said parents should tell children that even on near-empty roads, ambulances and private vehicles could suddenly appear.
Helmets must be the correct size so they don’t wobble, and the chin strap must always be attached so the helmet does not fall off on impact. The safety organization stressed never to wear a helmet that was previously worn during an accident.
In addition, children’s bike seats must be set so that the rider can stand with his legs on the sidewalk or pavement when at rest, and one should not leave one’s shoelaces untied, as they can get caught in the wheels.
When it comes to electric bicycles, people should buy those that meet official standards.
Tires must be filled as required, and there must be a bell or horn, front and back lights, and reflectors. Only teens over 16 may ride electric bikes on the road, and then only on roads without a lot of traffic.
Parents should teach children traffic safety, hand signals and the safest way to reach their destination. Riders should also refrain from using cellphones or wearing earphones.
Prof. Yehezkel Weisman, head of the emergency medicine department at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, advised that if a child suffers cuts in a riding injury, it is important to stop the bleeding and prevent infection and scarring. If the cuts are superficial, aren’t bleeding and don’t involve the face or genitals, and if no foreign object has entered the cut, sutures are not necessary. If there is significant bleeding, one should press on the wound with a clean bandage, wash it well with soap and water, and seek medical care.
As for coping with the 25-hour Yom Kippur fast, it is advisable for coffee drinkers to cut down gradually and halve consumption by Friday so they don’t suffer from caffeine withdrawal headaches.
It is also a good idea to eat three to five small meals on the eve of the fast, each meal containing complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, crackers, rice or pasta, and proteins such as yogurt or cheese.
The pre-fast meal, usually meatbased, should not be too heavy, as that causes tiredness and will not help the fast. Don’t ingest junk food, salty or spicy food, or carbonated beverages.
Fasting is not recommended for women in the third trimester of pregnancy, as it can cause premature labor.
It’s best to break the fast with a piece of cake or bread with a sweet spread, and eat a regular meal only an hour or so later.
Prof. Ram Dickman, a senior physician at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus, advised that people suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiac insufficiency, hypertension, renal insufficiency, diabetes (depending on the type and condition), kidney disease and cancer consult their doctors, warning that many should not fast. Doctors and rabbis allow (and insist on) drinking water in such cases. Patients taking diuretics should at least continue to take the pills, he went on, and people with other conditions should ask their physician.
Some medications are supposed to be taken on a full stomach, so people should consult their doctors.
Dickman said nursing mothers should not fast completely, but should drink at regular intervals so the milk supply does not stop. If they are using baby formula as well as breastfeeding, fasting is possible as long as they remain in cool places when it’s hot.
Magen David Adom, meanwhile, encouraged people to give blood at its local stations before Yom Kippur. Since many people are away from home during the holidays, blood supplies are depleted. Details are available at http://mdais.org/ dam or 1-800-400-101.
For the 18th year in a row, there will be a blood drive at the Hobbit Bar in Zichron Ya’acov’s pedestrian mall on Friday morning. Last Yom Kippur eve saw the donation of 242 pints.