Lag B’Omer, the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer that falls between Passover and the Festival of Shavuot, is traditionally celebrated by lighting bonfires. However, this fun activity is also dangerous for children. Schneider Children’s specialists have issued tips how to have a safe yet enjoyable holiday.
Prof. Yehezkel Waisman, Director of the Emergency Medicine Unit (ER) at Schneider Children’s, recommends first and foremost, that parents should always be present with their children at a bonfire in order to supervise the fire and inherent dangers.
• When children collect wood for the fire, they should not take any planks with metal or nails that can injure them. They should also not look for planks in open fields for fear of snakes. In the event of a snakebite, the injured child should be taken as fast as possible to the nearest hospital.
• The bonfire should be built in an area free of underbrush and bushes, and away from buildings. Wood should not be placed in an upright position so as not to fall on anyone or anything.
• Closed high shoes should be worn as protection against bites from insects attracted to the warmth of the fire.
• Combustible substances should be placed away from the fire while pails of water should be at hand in the event that the flames spread. Items such as cans and bottles should never be thrown into the fire in case they explode.
• In the event of a burn injury, the affected area should be washed under running water for a few minutes in order to minimize the depth of the burn and reduce pain. Do not remove any clothing from the burn area, but cover it with a clean dressing that is not cotton wool. The child should be rushed to hospital when the burn covers a large area, the face, limbs or genitals or if caused by an electric shock.
• When the bonfire party is over, care should be taken to ensure that the fire is doused properly with sand or water.