Burn Prevention and Safety Tips for the Jewish High Holidays

Sep 22, 2000


The Hearst Burn Center of New York Weill Cornell Medical Center has a long history of working with the Jewish community in the area of fire and burn prevention. The Center's pamphlet, "Burn Wise! Burn Prevention Information of Special Interest to Observant Jews," has been revised and is available free in English or Yiddish to schools, synagogues, and community groups.

The period from September 29 to October 22, which includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah, is a particular time of high risks. Here are our tips for safe high holidays:

Sabbath and Holiday Candles

  1. Never place candles near or under anything flammable.
  2. Keep candles on sideboards, out of the reach of small children.
  3. If candles are on the table, keep them in the center where they are less likely to be pulled down by a small child.
  4. When lighting and blessing candles, women need to be careful not to set their sleeves on fire. They must also be careful of their hair.
  5. When lighting multiple Sabbath candles, families need to be aware of the high amount of heat the candles generate. Create a safe place in the house where multiple candles can be lit.

The Blech

The blech and hot water urns have great potential for causing scald and burn injuries. They are unsupervised for periods of time and don't appear to be hot. Children must be taught the special importance of safety around the blech and hot water urns.

Chagim and Three Day Yuntifs/Yomim Tovim

Two- and three-day Yuntifs/Yomim Tovim are high risk times for scalds and burns. There is more hot food and hot water around the house, many more Shabbas, Yom Tov, and Yahrzeit candles than usual, and often guests, including children.


  1. Extension cords should be new and specifically designed to be used outdoors. Do not overload the wall circuit or the extension cord. Tape cords down so that no one trips over them.
  2. Heaters—be cautious about using them. Children and animals can tip them over easily.
  3. Candles in the Sukkah—when they are lit, do not leave them alone, even for "just a moment." The wind, animals, or small children can knock them over.
  4. Electric lights—do not place high wattage lights next to Shach or anything else flammable.
  5. Be careful about bringing hot food and beverages into and out of the Sukkah. It is easy to trip and be scalded.

For copies of the pamphlet, please call (212) 746-5024.