Do’s and Don’ts for Passover
Prof. Yehezkel Waisman, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department (ER) at Schneider Children’s, notes that each year the hospital treats children who are left unsupervised and are injured because they come into contact with cleaning agents during Passover cleaning preparations. Cleaning materials should be stored and locked in an elevated storage cupboard to keep them out of children’s reach. Substances such as caustic soda or other strong acids can cause severe burns to the skin and mucosa.
Cleaning substances should not be stored in empty drinking bottles (such as empty water bottles). Dangerous exposure to cleaning agents, mainly oils in liquid or spray containers can cause different kinds of injuries such as stings, burns or lacerations. Medications should also be moved out of children's reach.
When using cleaning agents or disinfectants, wear gloves to protect the skin of your hands from substances that can cause itching and skin burns. Should a child swallow any of the cleaning agents, do not induce vomiting as this can aggravate the injury. Take the child to a first aid clinic together with the cleaning agent.
Should cleaning substances touch the eyes or skin, wash the affected area under running water for several minutes and go to a first aid clinic.
Children under the age of 5 should not be given nuts of any kind including walnuts, peanuts, seeds, cashews, almonds and so on, in addition to which snacks should not be left within reach of children under the age of 5.
During immersion of utensils in hot water before Passover, small children should be moved away from the hot water containers. The ER has treated many infants and children in the past who were seriously burnt by boiling water falling or splashing on their bodies.
During cleaning and airing the home, gas masks normally kept away from children should be moved out of their reach. Gas mask containers include atropine syringes and children can inject themselves with the substance by mistake.
Dafna Ziv Busani, clinical dietician in the Nutrition and Dietary Unit at Schneider Children’s, suggests a number of ways to cope with festival foods and traditions in order to have a safe Seder Night without putting on weight. Passover is a long holiday when we host guests or are guests and thus it is important to maintain reasonable limits and find a balance so that we don’t put on weight and end the holiday with an extra 1-2 kgs. It is important to drink a lot of water, which is essential throughout the year, but especially during Passover due to the dry matzot that can cause constipation. Drinking water also contributes to satiety.
Passover foods are high in calories, for instance, one matza is equivalent to two slices of ordinary bread or 4 slices of light bread, two matza balls are equal to a slice of bread, and the caloric equivalent of fried matza and other traditionally fried foods is very high. Foods should be baked rather than fried.
Those who eat legumes should eat rice cakes instead of matza as well as beans, lentils and chickpeas. This is also an opportunity to try out new kinds of flour such as chickpea, lentil, quinoa and almond. Walnuts, almonds and peanuts are among the popular snacks during Passover, and they are an excellent source of good and healthy fats. They also contain nutritional fiber that is beneficial for the digestive system as well as vitamins and minerals. At the same time, they are high in calories and thus should be eaten in small quantities, one by one. Passover signifies the coming of Spring when pleasant weather invites outdoor activity and physical exercise for the whole family, which in turn, promotes a sense of well-being.