How to stay safe on Purim

While Purim is a happy holiday that celebrates our deliverance from Haman in the ancient Persian Empire, costumes and fireworks can sometimes be dangerous.

March 6, 2014 16:31
2 minute read.
Purim celebrations in Jerusalem, 2/25/2013

Purim Jerusalem370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Many parents have already purchased their children’s holiday costumes, some of which are fire hazards, and are unaware of the dangers posed by illegal explosives, noisemakers and makeup.

Purim, the holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in the ancient Persian Empire, is celebrated with costumes, candy, parcels and parties.

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Prof. Yehezkel Weissman, head of the emergency unit at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, said that every year, before Purim and on the holiday itself, many children suffering from injuries are brought in, even though the accidents are preventable.

Weissman cited some of the things one should look out for and how to handle the injuries they can cause.

Caps from toy pistols should be avoided, as they can cause severe injuries to eyes, ears and skin. If hurt from an exploding cap, wash the affected part of the body in running water, bandage it and go to an emergency room quickly for urgent care.

Children under the age of seven should not have access to small candies, nuts and other hard edible or inedible objects. Watch out especially for small pieces of plastic, which can be inhaled into the lungs.

Avoid unlicensed makeup or homemade costumes – make sure they aren’t flammable or reduce the child’s line of vision. Bought costumes must have the Israel Standards Institution’s seal of approval.

Do not allow young children to use or be exposed to chemical sprays that are liable to hurt their eyes. If their eyes are hurt, wash them with tap water and promptly take the child to a medical facility for treatment.

And finally, limit the amount of your children’s sweets consumption. Don’t allow them to “take possession” of candies, cakes and chocolate and finish them off all at once.

The Health Ministry, which aims to promote healthy habits through its Efsharibari program, advises giving cut fruits, muffins with dried fruits and tea instead of fattening and teeth-destroying sweets and cakes. Homemade granola, unsweetened yogurt and dried fruits are recommended for children over the age of seven. Bite-sized pieces of vegetable pies, whole-wheat crackers and other healthy snacks are recommended for Purim parcels.

Round pieces of chewing gum, hard candies and “Haman’s hats” filled with nuts should not be given to younger children.

Magen David Adom reported that two children’s eyesights have already been damaged from illegal explosives – one boy lost his eye completely.

Anything that explodes or shoots small objects is illegal and should not be given to children, MDA said. Do not put caps in pockets, as they tend to explode even if hardly touched. Do not let costumed children get near a fire of any kind. Masks, if worn, should have large enough openings for children to breathe and see where they’re going. Never allow children to cross streets if they’re wearing a mask or a costume that limits their movement.

Adults should avoid excessive drinking and refrain from driving if they have been drinking.

Children and teens should not be given alcohol. Two years ago, said MDA, an eight-year-old boy lost consciousness after drinking alcohol, and violence may result as well.

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