Safety Rules for Purim

United Hatzalah

Purim is upon us! We’re now on our usual mad search for costumes, or maybe we already have them. But we also need to make absolutely sure that our children’s costumes are safe, as follows:

Buying Costumes

1. Make sure they’re approved by the Standards Institution of Israel. Each costume must have its own label stating manufacturer and importer. The instructions on the labels are in Hebrew so do make sure you know what they say.
2. For small children, it’s preferable to have a costume that fits snugly rather than one that is loose or has long sleeves, as the material might get caught in things or, God forbid, catch fire.
3. If you are one of those creative parents who makes the costumes yourself, try to avoid feather, cotton or any other flammable material.
4. Masks: take care that there is no risk of strings choking your child, or getting caught in things and thus endangering your child.
5. Check there is room to breathe properly behind the mask and that it is not limiting your child’s field of vision.

Accompanying Toys

1. Every toy legally sold in this country must come marked with clear warnings in Hebrew: name of importer and manufacturer, clear address, correct usage and age restrictions.
2. Avoid buying weapons that very much resemble real ones.
3. A sword or knife must be checked to ensure the edge isn’t sharp. Let the child walk around at home with it for a bit, to make sure he or she can handle having it.

Mishloach Manot

1. Avoid small candies that might cause choking.
2. Keep your recipients in mind, and don’t give nuts and peanuts to those you know have allergies.
3. Packages for small children should not contain gum.

Uniting to Prevent Harm Through Explosives

We all know that Purim brings with it dangerous games such as firecrackers and other explosive items. If your children do have such items, don’t let them store them in their pockets, only in the original boxes. However, it is strongly recommended not to allow your children to have any fireworks, firecrackers, rockets etc, at all. These have proven time and again to cause severe burns and terrible suffering – anything but fun. Even something as “innocent” as cap guns has been known to cause disastrous accidents. We don’t need any more horrific stories of eye loss and amputation of fingers. So shocking have incidents of previous years in Beit Shemesh been that extensive citywide campaigns spearheaded by Ezrat Achim, Keren Yosef, and Ichud Hatzalah, and with the support of the Beit Shemesh police, have set out to target schools and high schools, aiming to convince children not to endanger themselves and others. The volunteers from those organizations, having witnessed the injuries themselves close up, were galvanized into launching a campaign which, following its first year, already saw numbers of accidents drop significantly, proving its efficacy. This year’s campaign is even larger and more forceful under the slogan of having a “NonExplosive Purim!”, with thousands of dollars invested and with a new, direct approach being made to the schools. Police chief Shlomi Toledano remarked that the police are well prepared to deal with the issue of explosives, which are not only dangerous but also noisy and constitute a public nuisance. The police are legally empowered to arrest violators, both before Purim and on the day itself. He cautioned against trading in firecrackers and rockets, etc. and added that the police are running a special intelligence operation to eradicate the phenomenon and arrest perpetrators. The organizations urge the public to increase safety awareness, and stress the duty incumbent upon us all to prevent family and friends from dangerous acts. Reckless and unthinking actions by children who think it’s all just a game can end up causing them and their friends to suffer with burns or loss of limbs or eyesight. Any school or group of children that would like to have someone come speak to them about the dangers are invited to call Ezrat Achim. The presentation is done in a positive way. Every children who commits not to play with dangerous items will be entered into a Grand Raffle for bicycles, with dozens of other gifts and prizes also being offered. Stickers with the motto “Non-Explosive Purim!” will also be handed out and the children are encouraged to pass them on. The police and the organizations encourage everyone, young and old alike, to contact the police in any case of known dangerous materials, in order to prevent disaster. Have a happy and safe Purim! 


In the event of an Emergency, Dial 1221

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