Halloween is coming up soon; are you carving pumpkins this year? Lots of people like to get into the spirit of Halloween by carving scary faces on their pumpkins. Lots of people also end up in the emergency room as a direct result of this activity; in fact, the Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates this number to be upwards of 3,500 each year. At Resurgens Orthopaedics, we want you to have fun while you’re carving your pumpkins but we also want you to be safe. Here are a few tips from our staff on how to keep your fingers intact while you carve those scary Jack-o-lanterns this year.
Pumpkin Carving Tools
Of all the reasons for Halloween emergency room visits, the most common culprits are lacerations sustained while carving. When it’s time to carve a pumpkin, it’s tempting to reach for the 10-inch chef’s knife but this tool may actually be overkill. Most pumpkins have a rind that’s less than 2 inches thick, so a smaller knife will get the job done while giving you better control. In addition, you might consider using safety tools designed specifically for pumpkin carving.
Kids and Pumpkin Carving
Carving a Jack-o-lantern is fun for the whole family; unfortunately, the majority of pumpkin carving accidents happen to children aged 10-14. That’s why it’s so important for parents to supervise children and teenagers while they’re carving. It’s also a good idea to let an adult perform the difficult task of removing the pumpkin top, to keep kids out of harm’s way. And once again, a safety pumpkin carving tool is much more appropriate for a child to use than a sharp knife.
If You Do Sustain an Injury
No matter how much safety advice you follow, we all know that accidents happen. If you end up carving your finger instead of the pumpkin, first aid is usually appropriate. For small cuts, apply pressure to the wound until bleeding stops, then clean and bandage it with antibiotic ointment. If the cut is severe, wrap it and be sure to get to a doctor right away so you can get it stitched up and get on with your Halloween fun.