On Wednesday, Nov. 27, we will be lighting the first candle of Chanukah. Chanukah is a holiday that is characterized by large amounts of light and joy. The beauty and customs of the holiday, however, also can be a recipe for disaster in homes with small children.
In hospitals in Israel, several hundred children are brought to emergency rooms due to burns from candles, fire or hot frying oil during the course of the eight-day holiday.
A leading Israeli emergency health services clinic reported that 30% of parents leave menorahs lit in places that could endanger the safety of their children: on a tablecloth, next to the door, on a small tray in the living room, or on the edge of the countertop.
Physicians at Rambam Health Care Campus, who are experts in trauma care among children, remind parents that children are curious and often don’t understand the dangers inherent to fire and frying pans. For the duration of the holiday, it is the responsibility of the parent to supervise their children even more than usual to prevent any accidents.
Simple tips to celebrate Chanukah safely:
- · Children under the age of nine should only light with the help of their parents
- · Tie back children’s hair during candle lighting
- · Put the menorah in the center of the table, and not on a tablecloth
- · Do not place the menorah next to the objects or furniture that may catch fire, such as curtains, shelves, and the like.
- · Do not leave burning candles unattended
- · Return matches to their place immediately after use
- · When frying donuts or latkes, only use the backburners of the stove
- · Keep gelt and dreidels out of the reach of children under three