Preventing burns during the holidays

Preventing burns during the holidays

THE JEWISH HOLIDAYS present a high risk for burns, with causes ranging from candles igniting house fires to individuals burned while cooking and preparing food. The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston urges everyone to take the following precautions:

  • Keep children away from food preparation areas; they can be scalded by hot foods spilling from a table or counter and can suffer injury from playing too near a stove.
  • Remind children: Lit candles are only for looking at; they should never be touched.
  • Keep Shabbat, holiday, and yahrzeit candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Place candlesticks on a metal tray in the middle of a table to avoid a table or tablecloth catching fire should the candles fall.
  • Never place candles near anything flammable or where a child or pet can knock them over.
  • When lighting and blessing candles, tie back long hair and make sure loose clothing and sleeves are not near the flames.
  • Teach children about matches, lighters, and fire safety; forbid them from striking a match or igniting a lighter without adult supervision.
  • When lighting multiple Shabbat candles, be extra careful, because they generate more heat.
  • When lighting and holding Havdalah candles, protect hands from dripping wax.
  • Do not leave electronic devices charging over Shabbat or holidays.
  • In the event of a burn, immediately do the following:
  • Cool all burns with tepid to cool water, regardless of degree, and continue flushing the area for up to 10 minutes.
  • Do not apply ice, ointments, butter, or other “home remedies.”
  • Remove all clothing to reduce contact time with hot items.
  • Cover affected area with a clean dry cloth, towel, or blanket to protect the burn and minimize pain.
  • Seek medical attention if the burn is larger than the victim’s hand size or if the victim is a child or an elderly person.

Saint Barnabas Medical Center provides Bikur Cholim accommodations for Shabbat and holidays. To make arrangements, contact Pastoral Care at 973-322-5015 or

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