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Safety Tips for Pumpkin Carvers

Safety Tips for Pumpkin Carvers

It’s that time again. Parents everywhere are preparing to dress up their children and send them out into the streets to take candy from strangers. While it’s important to ensure child safety year-round, it is especially difficult for parents during Halloween. But there are ways to exercise safety precautions without compromising fun. Much has been written about the do’s and don’ts of safe trick-or-treating. So this year, let’s look at something specific: How to safely carve a pumpkin.

Pumpkin-Carving May Lead to Injuries

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), pumpkin-carving can result in serious lacerations to the hand and also injuries to bones and tendons.

Orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Ronald Delanois says, “Halloween tends to encourage unruly behavior, so parents and other caregivers need to be especially vigilant to ensure that kids follow basic safety guidelines, whether they are pumpkin carving or trick-or-treating.”

How to Avoid Injuries

Here are some pumpkin-carving tips from the AAOS:

  • Never let children carve pumpkins!
  • Choose the right tool for the job. Don’t use kitchen knives to carve pumpkins. Use specifically designed carving knives. Injuries can occur when a carver tries to yank a stuck knife out of the pumpkin. Carving knives, however, are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue.
  • Adults carving pumpkins should cut in small, controlled strokes, away from themselves.
  • Carve pumpkins in a well-lit, clean and dry area. And be sure to keep the carving knife dry. Any moisture on the tools, hands or table can cause the knife to slip, leading to injuries.

How to Handle Injuries

If, despite your best efforts, someone does incur an injury to a finger or hand while carving pumpkins, the AAOS recommends:

  • The hand be elevated above the heart and direct pressure applied to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding;
  • If continuous pressure doesn’t slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be necessary;
  • If there is any numbness in the fingers or an inability to move the fingers, get the injured person to the emergency room.


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