With fire, hot oil, and new toys all around, keep your eyes open and stay safe with these tips.
Chanukah is a time of great joy, parties, gifts, family, and friends. Here are a few tips for you and your families to stay safe this yom tov!
Fire. There is so much to be said about this important and essential safety hazard!
- Light the menorah on a stable surface that is high enough or has a barrier to prevent little hands from reaching up and knocking something over.
- Do not light candles within 3 feet of curtains, paper bags, or loose paper.
- Never leave burning candles unattended—plan to be nearby the entire time they will be burning.
- Never leave children unattended in room with a lit menorah.
- Place menorah on a non-flammable surface, such as a layer of tin foil or other metal surface. Similarly, do not use a menorah made from plastic, wood, or other flammable material. You can have a separate display of all the decorative menorahs and school projects as a centerpiece or display table!
- Make sure your fire/smoke detector is working and batteries are recently replaced.
- Have a fire extinguisher—and know how to use it.
Latkes, freshly fried sufganiyot, funnel cakes, or other fried holiday treats all use hot oil and open stovetops. Burns happen in an instant and are one of the most common preventable injuries.
- Turn handles of frying pans towards the back of the stove so children cannot reach up and grab the handles.
- Keep dish towels, paper towels, and paper goods away from the cooktop while the fire is on—this is especially important for gas ranges! While it is always easier to lay out paper towels to place the latkes on to absorb some of the oil, try playing the layers of paper towel in a 9x 13 pan for an extra barrier.
- Make sure hair is tied back and long sleeves rolled up or close to the skin.
- Have a basic burn first aid kit stocked, with gauze, non adhesive bandages, and triple antibiotic ointment.
- Burn First Aid
- Run the burned area under running cool water for 15 minutes, until pain subsides.
- No margarine or sugar or butter!
- Protect the area with non-adhesive bandages or gauze.
- Children have thinner skin and burn deeper and quicker. Have a low threshold for taking them in quickly to be seen by a doctor or medical professional to prevent infection and scarring.
- Seek medical care if skin on face or hands blister, if any blistered area is larger than 2 inches, or if the area is leathery and patchy, or white/brown/black colored.
- Burn First Aid
Dreidels, chanukah gelt, small pieces of toys, Legos, and doll accessories are all major choking hazards for our youngest guests and family members. With kids of all ages around, you need to keep an eye out for little ones with curious hands.
- Make sure to look out for any choking hazards before any child under 4 goes into a room if possible. Supervision is the best prevention!
- Establish a “big kid zone” that is separate from the younger children where the older guests can play in a safe, protected environment.
- Educate yourself on how to provide basic First Aid in case of choking.
Elizabeth Rubin Ribak, MD is an Emergency Medicine resident and mom with a passion for public safety and community health literacy. She relaxes by writing, reading, runs on the beach and cooking quick easy meals her family can enjoy (usually while she is at work.) Follow her @scrubsandskillet.