Hanukka poses burn accident risk

Beterem, the Israel National Center for Child Safety and Health says 55% of fires in West caused by candles left burning.

December 19, 2011 05:42
1 minute read.

Hanukkia. (photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi)


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As families celebrate the joyous festival of lights, Hanukka, starting Tuesday night, take care not to be hurt: The number of burns injuries triple during the eight-day holiday compared to ordinary days.

Beterem, the Israel National Center for Child Safety and Health, said Sunday that 55 percent of fires in Western countries are caused by candles left burning without supervision and near flammable materials.

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Beterem director Orly Silbinger said that boiling- hot cooking oil, used to fry traditional Hanukka foods, means that burns are even riskier.

Children under the age of five are the most likely to suffer skin burns at this season. The younger and smaller the child, the more dangerous the accidental burn is, as it covers a higher percentage of the body.

Parents are advised not to leave matches and burning candles – which tends to hypnotize children – in reach of children, without an adult’s supervision. Remove the matches immediately after the candles are lit, said Beterem. Make sure not to leave lit candles where curtains can be pushed by air into them. Also, do not give chocolate “coins” or small spinning tops to children aged three years and younger.

Burn victims last year included a six-month-old baby and a three-year-old boy who were burnt when a fire broke out in their home; another was a toddler who sat on the table where the hanukkia was standing and played with a match; her hair was set fire, causing her serious burns.

A Beterem survey showed that a third of parents leave the hanukkia in a dangerous place, such as on a tablecloth, close to the edge of a table or kitchen counter or on a tray on the floor of the living room.

The survey of 499 adults – more than half of them parents or grandparents of children up to the age of nine – found that parents nevertheless had high awareness of the need not to allow children under nine to light candles alone.

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