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Independence Day Tips

Specialists at Schneider Children’s have issued recommendations how to have a safe and enjoyable holiday without gaining weight or incurring injury
Date: 11.04.21 | Update: 18.04.21

Yom Ha’atzmaut – Independence Day – is a national holiday in the State of Israel and will be marked this year by a return to normal routine following the year of corona that forced closures and distancing upon everyone. Israelis in their thousands are expected spend the day outdoors in nature enjoying picnics and hikes. It is noteworthy that each year, children arrive at the hospital with injuries sustained from fireworks, barbeques and various aerosol sprays. This year, more than ever, due to the wearing of masks and use of alcogel, both of which are inflammable, greater care and safety measures must be taken near sources of fire. Specialists at Schneider Children’s Medical Center have issued recommendations how to have a safe and enjoyable holiday without gaining weight or incurring injury.


Dr. Ron Berant, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department, recommends:

  • Foam and Aerosol Sprays – These contain chemical substances which can enter and injure the eyes. It is preferable therefore to avoid playing with them. If still used, they should not be directed towards the eyes. In the event of an eye injury from these substances, the eyes must be washed well with tap water and medical attention sought.

  • Barbecues – In order to prevent burns, all children should be kept away from any source of fire (BBQs and others). In the event of a burn, wash the affected area with cold tap water, cover with a burn dressing or clean cloth and seek medical attention.

  • Eating Meat – Children under the age of 5 should not be offered tough meat to chew to prevent choking. Sausages should be cut along the length, not across, to prevent inhalation to the lungs. All small snacks, nuts, etc, must be kept out of reach of children under the age of 5. During meals, children should eat while seated and not while playing games to avoid choking.

  • Cap Guns – These should be avoided altogether. Cap guns should not be held in the hands nor kept in trouser pockets. Should injury occur, wash the affected area with tap water, cover with a bandage and seek immediate medical attention. Firecrackers sold in shops despite the Standards approval can also cause injuries.
  • Motorized Bicycles and Scooters – There has been a dramatic rise in the use of motorized bicycles and scooters in recent years as well as injuries sustained from them. Only children over the age of 14 should ride them and only in designated bicycle lanes – never in the street - while maintaining a speed under 25kph. Riders must wear helmets; knee and elbow protectors are recommended.

Dafna Ziv Busani, Director of the Nutrition and Dietary Unit at Schneider Children's, notes that the national holiday offers an additional opportunity to serve as a personal example. Everyone knows that Yom HaAtzmaut is the “barbeque” holiday. However, simple changes can convey a message to the family that celebrations do not have to only be around food, and it is worthwhile selecting a picnic site near a hiking trail or sports elements.

  • Prepare vegetable kebabs together with children depending on their ages, as well as salads and/or decorated vegetable platters, so that they too can enjoy the joint activity and understand the importance of vegetables in the menu. Vegetables in five different colors providing different nutritional values should be eaten every day (green, red, yellow-orange, white and purple). The greater the variety of color and cooking method, the greater the array of vitamins and minerals, nutritional fibers which offer a sense of satiety at a low calorie count.

  • Healthy alternatives to chips can be potatoes baked in the oven or covered with foil and roasted.

  • The Ministry of Health underscores the avoidance of honey until the age of one year. This should be taken into account when preparing marinades for meat or fish.

  • The barbecue constitutes a huge caloric temptation, so maintain regular meals (they can be reduced) in order not to arrive at the barbecue too hungry. Increased hunger means incorrect food choices with more calories consumed quicker.

Independence Day has prompted much public discussion in recent years about the consumption of meat. At the end of 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided that there was sufficient information to classify the consumption of processed meat as a definite cause of cancer. The strongest evidence is the connection between the consumption of processed meat and colon cancer.

Processed Meats
Processed meats are those which have undergone a change through salting, preservation, smoking, fermentation or other processes to improve the flavor or consistency, or for extended preservation. This applies not only to beef or ham, but also to lamb and poultry. Samples of processed meat include turkey, chicken and bacon sausages, and cold cuts. These meats have been classified by WHO as carcinogenic. Red meat has been classified by the World Cancer Research Organization as a cause of cancer in humans.

Carcinogenic Agents in Processed Meat
Research studies show that meat processing and cooking technologies require high temperatures, smoke and could lead to the accumulation of cancerous chemicals. Other studies found that these compounds appear in parts of the digestive system such as the colon.

Global Recommendations
Processed meat should only be consumed once or twice a month and unprocessed meat not more than one or two portions a week. When eating red meat, it is recommended to select non-fatty and smaller portions. The desired amount depends also on the individual risk factors of each person.

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