Carving pumpkins and picking your favorite character costume are fun traditions for Halloween. Unfortunately, accidents can happen when sharp utensils and the wet surface of a pumpkin collide. At Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin we see children and adults alike who are injured due to an accident while carving a pumpkin.
Some injuries are minor, while others are severe involving nerves and tendons in the fingers and hand that often require hand surgery. Typically, the severe hand injuries happen due to the nature of the tools used such as kitchen knives and at times, power tools.
We have included seven helpful ways to avoid hand injuries this Halloween season.
- Prepare your Surface – An unstable surface is a dangerous one. Make sure your surface is solid and height appropriate. Having a child stand on a chair to be at the right height is not recommended.
- Prepare your Pumpkin – Moisture will cause your hands, knife, and/or pumpkin to slip. Make sure all items are kept as dry as possible throughout the task. It’s a must.
- The Right Tools – Never use a power tool. Pumpkin carving kits work the best with the least amount of injury. Also have a hand towel close by to keep hands, knife, and pumpkin dry.
- Use Appropriate Placement of your Hand on the Pumpkin – Injuries typically happen when kitchen knives are used in carving pumpkins. If you are using a kitchen knife, cut “away not towards” your hand. Make small controlled cuts. If the knife gets lodged in the thick pulp of the pumpkin, keep your fingers and hands away from the lodged knife blade.
- Never Catch a Falling Knife – If a kitchen knife is being used; do not attempt to catch the knife if it’s falling from a high surface. Let it hit the floor/ground.
- Supervision is Highly Recommended – Children love to participate, however, little fingers and sharp utensils don’t mix well. Let them draw the face and scoop out the pulp. If older adolescents are a part of the festivities, supervision is still recommended as many distractions can take their attention away from safety.
- If a Hand Injury Occurs – Rinse with water and apply pressure to control the bleeding. Depending on the severity of the wound, you may need to go to the emergency department and have a hand surgeon repair the damage.