With Chanukah comes much 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 of fire and frying pans. For the duration of the holiday, it is the responsibility of the parent to supervise the children even more than usual, to prevent any accidents.
Simple tips to celebrate Chanukah safely:
• Children under the age of nine should light only with the help of a parent
• 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 objects or furniture that may catch fire, such as curtains or shelves
• Do not leave burning candles unattended
• Return matches to their place immediately after use
• When frying doughnuts or latkes, only use the back burners of the stove
• Keep gelt and dreidels out of the reach of children under three v