Ahead of the Purim holiday, United Hatzalah of Israel has published a list of health tips and safety regulations to ensure that everyone has a happy and safe Purim. Last year, the organization received nearly 3,000 emergency calls on Purim, which is three times the amount received on a regular day. In order to prevent catastrophes from happening, here is a list of dos and don’ts for the upcoming celebration.
It is best to refrain from making or purchasing costumes that are made from 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 the person on the ground in order to put out the flames. You can also use a thick blanket or carpet to suffocate the fire. In any case of conflagration immediately call for help.
Avoid using sharp pins or other sharp objects as part of a costume. All paraphernalia such as swords, scepters etc… should be blunt or made of light plastic. Sharp objects cause injuries to the wearer and those in their vicinity.
Any type of explosive device, caps, flash-bangs etc… contain gunpowder and hence are highly dangerous and illegal in Israel. These types of “toys” can cause severe injuries and burns and it is strongly advised to avoid their use altogether.
Toys with parts that shoot off such as guns, rifles, and even bows and arrows made of plastic can cause injuries and are best to not be given to children.
With regards to choking hazards with babies, it is of the utmost importance not to dress a baby in any costume that has small round parts or any removable parts.
Additionally, receiving candy, gumballs, nuts, almonds or other small foods in mishloach manos can also lead to incidents of choking if young babies or toddlers should eat them. Parents are advised to look through their children’s mishloach manos to make sure that no such foods are eaten by young children. It is also advised not to send such foods to families with small children.
Allergies and burns:
Spray cans that shoot fake snow or body paint are highly flammable and once sprayed on another person can cause that person burns or allergic reactions. It is also advised to check all makeup prior to use to ensure that the wearer will not suffer an allergic reaction to the makeup. One should only use makeup that has received a stamp of approval from the Health Ministry. 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 running water until the burning sensation passes. If the burning sensation is particularly serious or continues for an elongated period of time, one should seek medical intervention.
In the event of an allergic reaction from makeup, one should remove the makeup immediately. If the reaction is serious and includes such signs as a swelling of the tongue, lips or a difficulty breathing, one should immediately alert emergency services and request assistance as quickly as possible.
The President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “Every year coming up to Purim, and this year as well, we are investing heavily in a public relations campaign in an attempt to warn the public of the commonplace dangers that exist with regards to costumes, props, explosives, makeup etc… In addition to sending out public service announcements, we also send our volunteers into schools to help educate the teachers as well as the students about some of the pitfalls and common injuries that we see each year. Our hope is to minimize the amount of these injuries by making the public more aware of what to look out for ahead of time. Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of injuries sustained due to explosive devices, much of this is due to the extensive public relations campaigns that are being done by United Hatzalah as well as other agencies. Having said that, we raise the alert level of our dispatch and command center as well as our volunteers to its highest in order to be prepared for the volume of calls that come in over the holiday. We wish everyone in Israel a happy and safe Purim this year.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)