Celebrating Purim 2020 in Israel: MDA’s Recommendations For A Safe Holiday


The holiday of Purim is just around the corner, and preparations are well underway.

Dressing up as Anna, Elsa, Aladdin, Spider-Man or maybe a Unicorn? What is most important, is that you do it safely and without creating any unnecessary risks.

Each year, MDA teams treat numerous injuries, resulting from playing with dangerous toys, wearing costumes that do not meet the required safety standards and alcohol consumption.

In the past year, MDA teams provided medical care to 13 children, teenagers and adults who suffered injuries to the face and limbs, as a result of playing with firecrackers.

Just last week, a 13-year-old boy from Herzliya was injured by an exploding firecracker. MDA medics and paramedics provided medical treatment and evacuated him to the hospital, suffering from severe limb injuries.

MDA Director General Eli Bin advised that, “In order to keep the holiday cheerful and avoid unnecessary injuries, I urge parents to prevent their children from playing with explosives and wearing improvised costumes.’

“Every year, we treat children and teenagers who have been injured as a result of playing with various forms of explosives. These are avoidable injuries.’

“In addition, parents must be aware of the dangers of alcohol consumption amongst the youth, and explain to them the dangers involved. MDA wishes all of Israel a safe and happy Purim holiday.”

Magen David Adom’s Safety Recommendations For Purim:

Homemade costumes:

1.     When preparing costumes at home, make sure to use non-combustible materials. Cotton, wool, natural feathers and plastic sheets are examples of combustible materials that could endanger the person wearing the costume.

2.     Make sure you purchase costumes with a label indicating fire resistance.

3.     Ensure that the costumes are being tested at the Israeli Standards Institute and comply with ID 562 (Toy Safety).

4.     Make sure that the costume does not press tightly on the body, and that one can move freely within, without fear of entanglement, fall or tripping.

5.     Avoid costumes that include laces, ropes and wires over 20 cm in length, which can wrap around your neck and cause choking.

6.     In costumes for toddlers, it must be made sure that the costume does not include small accessories, which can be torn off and enter to the child’s mouths, which can lead to choking.

7.     Do not approach any source of fire with a costume, for fear of igniting a fire. Keep away from ovens, burning stoves, burning cigarettes and more.

8.     Be very careful regarding different sprays. Hair spray and snow spray, for example, are highly flammable and should not be sprayed on the face, body or near a fire source for fear of rapid flare and irreversible injury. Note that it is recommended to purchase only sprays embossed with the signature of the Israeli Standards Institute.

9.     Costume accessories, such as swords or knives, should be made of soft materials that cannot injure their users and those around them.

10.Costumes must be washed according to the manufacturer’s instructions only. Washing that does not comply with the manufacturer’s instructions may impair the durability of the costume.

11.Make sure that only the Purim makeup approved by the Ministry of Health is used.

12.Avoid using masks without proper vents, which can cause suffocation.

13.Roads should not be crossed when a mask is placed on the face, as masks significantly reduce the field of vision.

14.Make sure that plastic rattles are intact and not cracked or broken to prevent children from being injured. In order to prevent choking, special attention must be paid to the small pieces that create the noise in the rattles.

Cap guns, fire crackers and explosives:

1.      MDA advises that all types of explosives are strictly prohibited for use. Rocket explosions, large firecrackers, and “explosive snake” explosions, can cause severe burns, eye damage, and even severed limbs.

2.      Do not use a toy gun that shoots plastic bullets. Resulting injuries include serious and irreversible damage to different organs.

3.      The paper caps must be operated using a toy gun designed for this purpose only. Do not transfer the capsules to any other gun type, or to any other tool, for fear of causing fire and damage.

4.      When purchasing a cap gun, make sure that the barrel has a safety stopper.

5.      Do not use combustion powders of any kind.

6.      Do not keep caps in your pocket for fear of them exploding.

7.      Do not shoot cap guns or any explosive toy near the ears and eyes. Doing so can cause a lot of damage, sometimes irreversible.

Mishloach Manot/ Deliveries:

1.     When delivering dishes intended for children up to the age of 5, do not place small toys or foods that may cause a child to choke, including: candy, round chewing gum and hamentashin (holiday cookies) filled with nuts, peanuts or almonds.

2.     It is advisable to wrap the toy before putting it in the package, so that it does not come into contact with food items.

What should be done in case of injury?

1.     In the event of a fire, the person injured should be laid down and rolled in sand or dirt, and the fire should be extinguished using a large amount of water or with a wet blanket. Be careful not to cover the victims head, for fear of suffocation.

Moreover, do not remove charred clothing and do not apply oily ointments to burns. The burns should only be cooled with lukewarm, running water, and immediately call MDA on the emergency 101 call center, or through My MDA App, which automatically detects your exact location.

2.     In case of snowflake spray entering into the eyes, rinse with plenty of running water, and do not rub.

3.     In case of hearing impairment, contact your doctor.

4.     In the case of an allergic reaction, remove the foreign material (for example; makeup). If an increased sensitivity characterized by difficulty in breathing, itching or swelling develops, the injured person should be rested, and the MDA teams called.

5.     A standard Magen David Adom first aid bag should be kept at every Purim party and every mass event.

In the Book of Megillah it says: “A great commandment to get drunk on Purim ‘to the point of loss of knowledge’. However, some take the scripture too seriously, and end up in a state of loss of consciousness and alcohol poisoning. Each year, MDA teams treat victims as a result of alcohol consumption.

With the rise in alcohol consumption, cases of alcohol-related violence and the lack of awareness of the effects of alcohol-related driving, Magen David Adom is seeking to warn the public, especially for the Purim holiday — Alcohol is allowed but it can be dangerous.  Proper drinking is done reasonably and wisely, and of course — if you drink, DON’T drive.

MDA mentions that the physiological risks associated with drinking alcohol include: foolishness, confusion, memory loss, severe loss of coordination, and increased fatigue.

In severe cases, the intoxicated person may go into a state of coma, and may stop breathing, leading to death.

In an emergency caused by excessive drinking of alcohol, the injured person should be kept away from dangerous places, such as a road, a balcony, electric machines and vehicles. If the injured person vomits, turn them on their side.

The patient should not be allowed to drink coffee, or any other liquid, as the loss of reflexes may cause aspiration allowing any fluid into the lungs and choking them.

If the patient is unconscious and is not breathing, immediately begin CPR and summon the MDA forces by calling the MDA 101 Emergency Dispatch Center, or via the “My MDA” App.

MDA urges Purim participants not to leave beverages unattended, fearing that poisonous chemicals can be put into them. In addition, avoid entering packed halls for fear of harm from overcrowding.

Parents of children? Pay attention: In MDA we ask you to pay attention and make sure that youth under 18 do not consume alcohol on Purim.

Warning and Statement
In no way do these detailed guidelines give you any power to treat or diagnosis beyond your knowledge in first aid. These guidelines do not replace professional treatment and care. In every case, you should seek professional medical advice.

It is important to undergo a CPR and first aid course through Magen David Adom.

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