Lag Baomer bonfire.
(photo credit: Reuters)
As Lag Ba’omer approaches, a released survey states that nearly 25 percent of
parents disregard their children’s safety by not supervising dangerous
The holiday – observed between Passover and Shavuot – falls on
Iyar 18, or the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer. Many Jews celebrate with
bonfires and barbecues.
Lag Ba’omer also marks the end of second-century
deadly plague, which killed tens of thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students. The
holiday commemorates the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai’s death, a
student of Rabbi Akiva who is buried on Mount Meron near Safed.
the National Center for Child Safety and Health, said that most people
understand where to initiate bonfires – in an open area without telephone and
electricity wires, trees, traffic and combustible products. But many parents are
unaware and fail to prevent young children from approaching the bonfire,
especially in windy weather.
They trust their children to watch out for
themselves. An estimated 20% of parents who accompanied their children to a
bonfire take a first-aid kit, and only 10% confirm that another parent brings
The survey, conducted among 150 parents of children aged two to 12,
show that 35% send their kids to a bonfire in inappropriate clothing such as
shorts, sandals or Crocs that do not shield sharp objects, venomous snakes or
scorpions awakened by activity.
Each year, thousands of children receive
burns from out-of-control fires, are pricked with nails and splinters while
collecting wood and are injured from explosive material thrown into the fire.
Some children are also hurt when they place food onto the open fire for cooking.
After Lag Ba’omer, hundreds of children are reported hospitalized from
Beterem recommends some advice for Lag Ba’omer
Always demarcate the border of the bonfire with large rocks, the
safety center says, and bring a first-aid kit and cellphone with you to call
Other tips include: Have bucket of water to extinguish
the fire completely and use a stick to stir the ashes to ensure no flames
remain. Also, an adult should always supervise the children. Make sure to drink
a lot of water so as not to become dehydrated.
If someone catches fire,
roll him on the ground and cover his body with a wet blanket until the flames
are doused. If there are burns, call for emergency medical
Hospitals report that haredi children are more likely to be harmed
due to parental negligence than any other group.
Magen David Adom said
Sunday that it will be prepared to treat those among the hundreds of thousands
who will pack Meron on Wednesday night and Thursday. Doctors, paramedics and
medics will be on hand along with well-equipped ambulances and mobile clinics.
Last year, MDA treated some 200 visitors at the site.
Food brought to the
site must be stored under proper conditions to prevent food poisoning. Every
year, there are road accidents involving vehicles traveling to and from Meron.
Do not leave children in vehicles without supervision.
Municipality said the city’s Fire Service is prepared for Lag Ba’omer. The
agency posted flyers in most neighborhoods – inundating haredi areas with
messages – in order to explain safety advice. The Jewish National Fund and fire
inspectors are prepared to protect the Jerusalem Forest from
More than 20 additional firemen will be on shift when children
light bonfires in the neighborhoods, especially those bordering the
Call 102 in the event of a fire emergency.