Health and Safety Tips for a Happy and Safe Chanukah

A man walks near a large menorah outside the the Churva shul in the Jewish Quarter in the Old of Yerushalayim, Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Every Chanukah, emergency staff tend to far too many incidents of fires and injuries resulting from Chanukah candles being lit in dangerous locations or carelessly being left without supervision, as well as hundreds of emergencies relating to burns from either candles or hot oil spilling on children and adults alike.

Sadly, too many of these incidents have ended with people losing their lives and turning the holiday into a day of tragedy.

In an effort to bring public awareness to the dangers inherent in Chanukah, United Hatzalah has released a list of safety tips and warnings aimed at helping parents avoid the dangers and prevent the injuries from occurring.

Use a special location and apparatus to light the candles.

Many times fires occur due to the use of makeshift menoros. Please use a proper, stable menorah and stable table or shelf and avoid proximity to any flammable items, including remaining oil or other candles, as well as drapes, curtains, books or clothing.

It is also recommended to have the menorah set up on either a stable stone or metal object underneath to prevent a fire from spreading as a result of a fallen candle or oil. Placing a sheet of tin foil underneath the menorah is also recommended.

Lighting the menorah in a glass case that can prevent wind from blowing the fire or candles over is also recommended.

Don’t leave menoros unsupervised, especially with young children in the house.

Chanukah is a time of joy, and in an effort to prevent tragic occurrences, an adult should supervise the area in which the menorah is lit and small children should be warned about the dangers of approaching the menorah or playing in its vicinity.

Always keep menoros, candles, oil and matches out of the reach of children and make sure that children do not approach the menoros during the entire time that they are burning.

Do not allow children to light menoros unassisted. Additionally, make sure to tie back any hair that may catch on fire as this can lead to serious burns on the face and scalp in seconds.

Kitchen safety:

Children should be kept far away from boiling or hot oil in the kitchen or any other hot liquids to prevent serious and painful burns from taking place.

Use the rear burners on the stovetop to fry latkes or donuts in order to prevent hot oil from splashing on children and to prevent children from coming into contact with pot handles that may extend over the edge of the stove and result in the pot or pan from tipping over and spilling the hot oil on the child.