Top tips for a safe, injury-free Purim celebration

United Hatzalah has launched an extensive safety awareness campaign this year in anticipation of Purim.

 Haredim drink alcohol while celebrating Purim in Jerusalem. (photo credit: GIL COHEN/REUTERS)
Haredim drink alcohol while celebrating Purim in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: GIL COHEN/REUTERS)

To keep the festival of Purim joyous, protect your children from dangers posed by carelessness during the holiday next week. The Health Ministry and United Hatzalah on Thursday released several recommendations to prevent illness and injury:

  • Do not use makeup and other products that are not licensed by the Health Ministry and lack importer/manufacturer markings, component markings, instructions for use and warnings about what chemicals may cause damage to the skin. Products not used according to the instructions indicated on them may be harmful to public health. Makeup sold as a toy for children in toy stores also requires a ministry license. 
  • It is important to check the sensitivity of children as well as adults to Purim makeup before applying it on large areas of skin. You can put a small amount of the preparation on the inside of the arm, and if there is no reaction on the spot within a day, the chance of a noticeable reaction from the material is small.
  • Since perfumes and hair dyes of all kinds can cause allergic reactions, it performing a sensitivity test before dyeing the hair as indicated in the consumer leaflet is strongly recommended. One can check the existence of licenses for cosmetics and the approved purpose of use in the database of cosmetics on the website of the Health Ministry.

United Hatzalah has launched an extensive safety awareness campaign this year in anticipation of Purim. Every year, its medical teams see increasingly alarming cases resulting from the use of explosives, firecrackers and other dangerous devices. These items may appear harmless, but they can potentially cause serious harm ranging from fires to limb amputations. The holiday’s festive meals and costumes can also be a source of choking and allergy-related emergencies. 

United Hatzalah volunteers.  (credit: Courtesy)United Hatzalah volunteers. (credit: Courtesy)

Fire safety

  • Don’t make or buy costumes based on easily combustible materials. In the case of an emergency in which a costume has caught on fire, try to get the person wearing it to lie down and roll on the ground to put out the flames. You can also use a thick blanket or carpet to cover the person and suffocate the fire. Avoid costumes for children that contain small pieces such as buttons or small eyes to prevent choking hazards.
  • Avoid using sharp pins or other sharp objects as part of a costume. All paraphernalia such as swords, scepters and the like should be blunt or made of light plastic. Sharp objects can cause injuries to the wearer and those in their vicinity.
  • Any type of explosive device -such as caps and flash-bangs- contain gunpowder and are highly dangerous and illegal in Israel, but they are smuggled in and sold nevertheless. These types of “toys” can cause severe injuries and burns and should not be used at all. Toys with parts that shoot off such as guns, rifles and even bows and arrows made of plastic can cause injuries and should not be given to children.

Choking hazards

  • As for choking hazards for babies and toddlers, it is of the utmost importance not to dress a baby or small child in any costume that has small round parts or any removable parts.
  • Candy, chewing-gum balls, nuts or other small foods should be removed from Purim parcels before the package is given to children as they are choking hazards. It is also advised not to send such foods to families with small children.

Spray cans

  • Spray cans that shoot fake snow or body paint are highly flammable. Once they are sprayed on someone can cause burns or allergic reactions.
  • In the event of a burning sensation or an allergic reaction in the area of the eyes resulting from a spray, one should wash their eyes under lukewarm running water until the burning sensation passes. If the burning sensation is particularly painful or continues for a long period of time, one should seek medical intervention.

United Hatzalah president and founder Eli Beer said that “as we approach Purim, our volunteers witness an increasing number of injuries caused by explosives, unsafe costumes and excessive alcohol consumption. We urge everyone to follow our safety guidelines to ensure a happy and injury-free Purim celebration. We are pleased to see a positive response from the public so far, and with continued vigilance, we hope to [celebrate] the coming Purim with great joy and without harm. On Purim-like every day of the year- our volunteers will be ready to respond to any emergency and provide assistance to anyone in need,” he said.