Next weekend is Halloween, which means you’re probably in the candy-buying, costume-making, party-planning, pumpkin-carving mode! This time of year, we hope you have lots of fun and we want to share a few tips to make sure you stay safe throughout the season. At the Hand Management Center, it’s common to see cuts and burns from accidents that occur while carving pumpkins. The following 6 recommendations will help make sure you have more time for trick-or-treating and less time with our hand therapy specialists this year:
Carve Your Pumpkins in a Clean Setting
Pumpkins are slippery, especially once you cut them open and get into the seeds and flesh. It’s important to make sure you’re working in a clean, dry, well-lit area to minimize the chance of slipping while holding the carving tools.
Use the Correct Tools
Typically when using knives in the kitchen, you want to make sure they are sharp to reduce errant cuts. However, in this case, sharper is NOT better. The serrated knives that come in carving kits allow for more control, calling for a sawing action rather than slicing. Be sure to purchase the tools that are specifically made for pumpkin carving.
Follow Proper Carving Techniques
In addition to using the right tools, carving kits may also provide proper techniques for the safest results. In general, it’s best to leave the seeds and filling in place until all the carving is complete, and you should always try to stabilize the pumpkin with one hand while using slow, deliberate movements with the cutting hand.
Always Provide Adult Supervision
This one may sound obvious, but children and even teens should not be allowed to carve alone. For younger kids, give them the option to draw the face with a marker and then allow them to watch while you cut out their design.
Use Battery-Powered Candles
The Hand Management Center sees lots of burns this time of year because it’s generally difficult and awkward trying to light or place a lit candle into the small opening of a carved pumpkin. Open flames with baggy costumes may also cause accidents, all of which can be avoided with battery-operated lights that provide the same effect.
As the Boy Scout motto suggests, it’s important to know first aid and have some bandages and general treatment options nearby in case of an accident. If someone is cut, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth and seek medical attention if the bleeding does not stop on its own within 15 minutes.
If you have any additional questions or would like more information about the Hand Management Center at Arnot Health, check out our previous blog post with all the background and contact information. We hope to see some creative, fun, battery-lit pumpkins out there on Halloween!