How to keep your child safe this Holi?
With the festival of colors, Holi just around the corner, the excitement quotient among children has reached a height. With gulaal, pichkari and sweets, the festivities of Holi are enjoyed the most by the young ones.
Unfortunately, in the last few years, the festivities have started taking an ugly turn. With the presence of large quantities of chemicals in gulaal and attacks by notorious people by throwing eggs and water balloons, the festival has resulted in pain and agony for several people.
In the past, there have been cases where children were exposed to serious health hazards. Children have lost their eyesight or contracted skin diseases due to the chemicals used in manufacturing gulaal and other colors. Due to a prank gone wrong during Holi, youngsters have also been severely injured.
Hence, it is important that parents take precautions before Holi to ensure the safety of their wards.
Here are a few pointers that the parents should keep in mind to keep their children safe while celebrating Holi.
Herbal colour is the way to go
- Please keep your child away from synthetic colours and gulaal manufactured using chemicals. Reason being, use of chemically induced colours can lead to irritation, skin diseases and eye infections.
- Opt for organic and natural colours that are easily available in the market. Natural colours are easy to wash off and cause less harm to the skin.
- Dark colours like purple, silver and black contain more chemicals and are semi permanent. Choose light colours such as yellow and pink.
- You can even make natural colours at home with henna, neem leaves, mint, hibiscus flowers, marigold petals, turmeric powder and rose petals among other substances.
- For pichkaris, encourage your children to use only water.
No to water balloons
- Say an absolute no to water balloons.
- The impact of water balloons at a wrong place can cause injuries to ears, eyes, spinal cord and skin.
- Apart from water balloons, substances like grease and eggs should be absolutely banned. The cheerful spirit of the festival is lost due to use of such materials during the celebration.
Special attention to eyes and mouth
- If the colour has entered your child’s eye, first wash the eye with water. Do not rub the eye.
- If there is any pain, redness in the eye or change in the vision, consult a doctor immediately.
- It is essential that the colour do not enters your child’s mouth. The chemicals and synthetic materials in the colour, if ingested could cause vomiting and even lead to poisoning.
- If these toxic materials are inhaled or enter the mouth it can also lead to respiratory problems.
- It is always advisable to visit the doctor in case of any emergency rather than self medicating.
Teach your kids about Holi etiquette
- It is of utmost importance that you teach your kids about Holi etiquette this year. They should seek permission before they apply colour or aim their pichkaris at people.
- Ensure that your kids stay away from applying colours to babies and elderly people. They should not indulge in any pranks as it can lead to disastrous results.
- Before they go out to play Holi, tell your children not to apply colours on people’s eyes, mouth and ears.
No Animal Cruelty
- Before your ward goes out to celebrate Holi with his/her friends, instruct them to not harm animals during the celebration.
- Many a times, stray animals are sprayed with water and colours, which can be a health hazard for them. Children need to be taught that animal cruelty is not acceptable.
- If you have any pets, it is suitable if they remain in the house until the celebrations are over.
First Aid Kit
- Instead of panicking, you should be prepared for any sort of emergency. A first aid kit with basic medicines should be ready.
- Keep one or two buckets of uncontaminated water on standby.
- Keep a list of important contacts ready such as the hospital, ambulance service, family doctor and your pediatrician.
- To be on the safe side, do not leave your young ones unsupervised during the celebration.
Precautions before stepping out
- Before your children step out to play Holi, apply oil or cream over their bodies and oil their hair to prevent them from harmful effects of colour.
- To protect your children’s skin, it is also advisable that they wear full sleeved clothes. This will act as a barrier between the skin and external pollutants.
- Tell your children not to run on slippery and wet surfaces.
After the festival
- After the celebration, please ask your child to take a bath at once. To remove the colours from the skin, use effective and safe methods such as homemade mixture of besan, curd and turmeric.
- Avoid repeated washing and scrubbing of the body as it may cause irritation.
- If the colour is not removed in the first attempt, please don’t use substances like kerosene or detergents since it can lead to rashes on the skin.
Alternative ways of celebration
- While it is imperative that your child understands the tradition of Holi, it is your responsibility to introduce alternative ways of celebrating this festival.
- For instance, in several places across India, Holi is celebrated only by using flowers. You could try to introduce your child to this new method of celebration.
- Use this time to bond with your children. You can prepare sweets and savories together for your friends and family or you could also make natural colours in your free time.
- You can take a small vacation with your children and their grandparents so that they can develop a bond.
- Another way of celebration could be a visit to the nearest NGO, so that your children can understand the importance of spreading joy and happiness to others.
Understanding the tradition
- More than playing with gulaal and pichkaris, it is important that your children know the diverse reasons behind the celebration of Holi.
- Narrate mythological stories behind the festivities to make them understand the tradition of this festival.
Holi is a beautiful festival and the children certainly look forward to it. But, the safety of your wards should not be compromised in any cost. Ban colours that may have synthetic or chemical materials. Water balloons are also a big no-no. Don’t forget to teach your child about the Holi etiquettes and tell them to ask for permission before applying colour to any person.
Take the necessary precautions as mentioned above and stay relaxed to enjoy a safe and Happy Holi!