Every Halloween emergency room physicians see patients coming in with injuries from pumpkin-carving accidents. Not surprisingly, the most common hand injuries are stab wounds to the fingers and palm, often causing damage to tendons, nerves and arteries.
So do yourself a favor and avoid a Halloween butchering by following these guidelines for safer pumpkin carving:
1. Carve in a dry, well-lit area – Any moisture on your hands, pumpkin, carving tools or work surface can cause your hands and knife to slip. Re-dry everything as necessary.
2. Use proper tools – Sharper is not better. Pumpkin carving kits are safer than kitchen knives because they can easily cut through the pumpkin flesh but arent razor-sharp. They are also smaller and easier to control.
3. Do the carving for your kids – Let your children draw the pattern on the pumpkin and scoop out its guts, but dont let them do the cutting. A Pediatrics study found that children ages 10-14 were most prone to injury during Halloween. If you do permit your adolescents to use knives, make sure you still supervise.
4. Point the blade away – Dont pull the knife towards you. Cut downward in small, controlled strokes.
5. Saw, dont slice – Dont try to force the knife to slice through the pumpkin in one go. Take your time to cut slowly. This will greatly reduce the chance of slipping and of you losing control of your knife.
6. Fire safety – If you choose to use real candles instead of electronic lights or glow sticks, make sure you place your jack-o-lantern in cleared area where nothing is around to catch alight. Dont allow the candles to burn all night long.
If an injury does occur, apply direct pressure to the wound. If the wound is deep or long, if you cant move or feel your finger, or if it doesnt stop bleeding after 15 minutes of pressure, a trip to the emergency room may be required.
SelectQuote wishes you and your family a happy, haunted Halloween!