Israel’s national volunteer-based EMS organization United Hatzalah has launched an extensive safety awareness campaign this year in anticipation of Purim. Every year, the organization’s medical teams witness increasingly alarming cases resulting from the use of explosives, firecrackers, and other dangerous devices. These items may appear harmless but have the potential to cause serious harm, ranging from fires to limb amputations. The holiday’s festive meals and costumes can also be a source of choking and allergy-related emergencies. To prevent such incidents, the organization released the following health and safety guidelines ahead of the holiday.


It is best to refrain from making or purchasing costumes that are made from easily combustible materials. In the case of an emergency in which a costume has caught on fire, try to get the person wearing it to lie down and roll on the ground in order to put out the flames. You can also use a thick blanket or carpet to cover the person and suffocate the fire. In any case of conflagration immediately call for help.

Avoid costumes for children that contain small pieces such as buttons or small eyes in order to prevent choking hazards.

Avoid using sharp pins or other sharp objects as part of a costume. All paraphernalia such as swords, scepters etc… should be blunt or made of light plastic. Sharp objects can cause injuries to the wearer and those in their vicinity.

Explosives – Napatzim:

Any type of explosive device, caps, flash-bangs etc… contain gunpowder and hence are highly dangerous and illegal in Israel. These types of “toys” can cause severe injuries and burns and it is strongly advised to avoid their use altogether.

Toys with parts that shoot off such as guns, rifles, and even bows and arrows made of plastic can cause injuries and are best to not be given to children.


With regards to choking hazards with babies or small children, it is of the utmost importance not to dress a baby or small child in any costume that has small round parts or any removable parts.

Additionally, receiving candy, gumballs, nuts, almonds or other small foods should be removed from mishloach manot before the package is given to children as they are choking hazards. It is also advised not to send such foods to families with small children.

Allergies and Burns:

Spray cans that shoot fake snow or body paint are highly flammable and once sprayed on another person can cause that person burns or allergic reactions. It is also advised to check all makeup prior to use to ensure that the wearer will not suffer an allergic reaction to the makeup.

One should only use makeup that has received a stamp of approval from the Health Ministry. In the event of a burning sensation or an allergic reaction in the area of the eyes resulting from a spray, one should wash their eyes under lukewarm running water until the burning sensation passes. If the burning sensation is particularly serious or continues for an elongated period of time, one should seek medical intervention.

In the event of an allergic reaction from makeup, one should remove the makeup immediately. If the reaction is serious and includes such signs as a swelling of the tongue, lips or difficulty breathing, one should immediately alert emergency services and request assistance as quickly as possible.

To sum it all up:

President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer said: “As we approach Purim, our volunteers witness an increasing number of injuries caused by explosives, unsafe costumes, and excessive alcohol consumption. We urge everyone to follow our safety guidelines to ensure a happy and injury-free Purim celebration. We are pleased to see a positive response from the public so far, and with continued vigilance, we hope to pass the coming Purim with great joy and without harm. On Purim like every day of the year, our volunteers will be ready to respond to any emergency and provide assistance to anyone in need.”