Stay Safe this Purim
By Lubicom Staff
Purim is a favorite Yom Tov for kids and kids at heart. We relax our rules, give up on structure, and indulge in food and drink.
But we still need to act safely. Consider that United Hatzalah of Israel receives thousands of emergency calls on Purim – as many as three times more than a regular day!
Without giving up on the unique Purim atmosphere, we can put safety measures into place to protect ourselves and our children.
COVID concerns are top of the list. We definitely don’t want, G-d forbid, a repeat of the effects of last Purim.
1. Follow your community’s guidelines even if you personally don’t feel the need for precautions. You are protecting those who are more vulnerable.
2. Plan in advance for megillah reading. Make sure you'll be comfortable with the seating arrangements and wear a mask in shul. Or ask your local rabbi if your shul is offering virtual megillah reading.
3. According to the CDC, there is minimal COVID risk in accepting homemade food from other families. However, the OU recommends precautions when delivering or receiving mishloach manot. They suggest you visit and greet guests outside the home and leave the packages outside the door.
4. For those who have not achieved immunity, the OU recommends that you limit the Purim seuda to the family “bubble.” If you are hosting a Purim seuda with guests, consider moving the seuda outside, spreading out seating, and serving food in individual portions.
Don’t sacrifice “safe” for “cute”! By paying attention to a few details, you can have cute and safe at the same time.
1. Make sure that costumes (and graggers!) don’t have small objects or decorations that can easily come off and become a choking hazard.
2. Costumes shouldn’t contain sharp objects. Only give children swords or scepters that are blunt and made from light plastic.
3. Don’t give children items that shoot, like cap guns or bows and arrows.
4. Mask and costumes shouldn’t limit the wearer’s field of vision.
5. Children's costumes shouldn't have long strings or laces near their neck that could be strangulation hazards. Before playing on a playground or climbing a jungle gym, children should take off any costume piece that dangles as it could get caught on the equipment.
6. Only use makeup approved by the FDA or your local health ministry. Unapproved makeup can cause harm, from mild itching to severe burns or allergic reactions.
Take a few extra moments to know what your children are eating from the mishloach manot.
1. Go through the mishloach manot before giving it to young children to remove any choking hazards.
2. If you have a child with food allergies, be vigilant about approving foods that come into your house. Give away homemade treats if you're not sure about the ingredients.
3. If you're sending homemade foods as mishloach manot, let people know if your food includes allergens like peanuts or tree nuts.
As much as we relax our standards in other areas, we can never get complacent about safe driving. Sadly, it only takes a moment for a car to become a lethal weapon.
1. Never drive a car if you’ve been drinking. And never get into a car with a driver who’s been drinking. Educate your teens about the dangers of drunk driving.
2. Be extra-vigilant about safety when driving on Purim day. Drive slowly! Roads can be crowded, and children (or adults!) may cross the street without looking. They can easily dart out from between parked cars.
3. Be considerate – don’t stop in the middle of the street and block everyone behind you.
Children still need supervision on Purim, perhaps more than ever. They may be vulnerable to their own poor decisions or the bad intentions of others.
Experts recommend a buddy system. Pair off children when they deliver mishloach manot or attend a Purim gathering. A buddy can help a child make good decisions and prevent another child or adult from harming him.
The safety rules aren’t here to ruin the fun, but rather to keep everyone safe within it. With such a rough year behind us, we can all use some simchat Purim.
That’s especially true for those who experienced loss this year or older people who are feeling isolated. While keeping safety in mind, we can look for ways to bring them joy with mishloach manot or socially distanced visits.
Let’s keep Purim happy for everyone!