Safe Pumpkin Carving
Halloween is a fun holiday for the whole family to enjoy. Carving pumpkins has become as big a part of Halloween as Trick-or-Treating. Each year during the fall season, the Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center’s surgeons treat many adults and children who suffer from severe hand and finger injuries due to careless pumpkin carving activities. These injuries range from simple lacerations to more severe tendon and nerve injuries that can require extensive surgery to repair and may also result in a permanent loss of hand function. Most injuries result from knives slipping in an individual’s hand resulting in laceration to digital nerves and flexor or extensor tendons. A knife with to much applied pressure can also suddenly slice or puncture through a pumpkin resulting in a stab wound to the other hand which has been supporting or holding the pumpkin. Have a safe Halloween by following these tips.
- Adults, not children, should always perform the pumpkin carving. Never let children play with knives or pumpkin carving tools. Allow the children to draw the pattern on the pumpkin and clean the seeds out of the inside of the pumpkin.
- Utilize pumpkin carving kits. A serrated pumpkin saw is safer to use than a sharp knife. A large and very sharp knife is not the best tool to use to carve.
- Prepare a clean, dry surface for carving. Any moisture on your hands, tools or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.
- Thoroughly wash and dry hands and all carving tools before starting.
- When you start your cutting, always cut away from yourself and cut in small controlled strokes.
- If an injury occurs apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If the pressure does not stop the bleeding after 15 minutes an emergency room visit may be required.