The joyous festival of Purim, which will be held next week, turns out for some to be a sad occasion when children lose their sight or hearing or suffer severe burns as a result of illegal explosives, spray foam and flammable costumes.Hospital emergency rooms get 3.5 times as many burn cases before and during Purim than during the rest of the year. Children suffer second and third-degree burns on their hands, face, neck and knees when playing with fireworks, cap pistols and other illegal explosives sold in stores and kiosks.Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, has called on the local authorities to enforce the law more strictly. In addition, toys that look like authentic weapons may not be sold according the law.Caps that explode should not be stored in pockets, as friction can cause them to go off. No equipment for Purim should be purchased at a kiosk or other unrecognized point of sale.Parents should not buy Purim costumes that lack the markings of the Israel Standards Institution, authorities warn.A short costume worn close to the body is preferable to long and broad ones that can catch fire. It is best to avoid – in both handmade and storebought costumes – flammable material like cotton wool, carton and feathers, anything on the head or face (such as masks) that obstructs the view of traffic.The use of masks by any child under eight is not recommended; older children should not wear masks without breathing holes. Wigs, masks and other such accessories should be taken off when children are active in playgrounds. Makeup that lacks Health Ministry approval could be toxic or cause skin rashes, and should be avoided. Dr. Ayelet Ramon, head of the pediatric emergency department at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Dana-Dwek Hospital, reported an increase in Purim burns cases in recent years.Small children should be taught how to remove costumes quickly, she advised.Do not give them costumes with shoelaces or long ribbons that could lead to strangling while at playgrounds, she added.Ramon cautioned that Purim parcels should not be given to children under the age of five, as small candies, nuts, ball-type bubble gum and other such foods can cause choking.Parents should instruct their kids on how to avoid trouble during the holiday and how to play safely, she advised.