Pumpkin Carving Safety

September 28, 2017

Use caution during the Halloween season, and take steps to prevent hand injuries when carving. To prevent hand injuries, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand suggests the following safety tips:


 
CARVE IN A CLEAN, DRY, WELL-LIT AREA
Wash and thoroughly dry all the tools that you will use, including: carving tools, knife, cutting surface, and your hands. Any moisture on your tools, hands, or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.

ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION
Adults should take necessary precautions and be mindful of the potential for injury in young children as well as adolescents. Even though the carving may be going great, it only takes a second for an injury to occur.

LEAVE THE CARVING TO ADULTS
Never let children do the carving. Let kids draw a pattern on the pumpkin and having them be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds. When the adults do start cutting, they should always cut away from themselves and cut in small, controlled strokes.

SHARPER IS NOT BETTER
A sharper knife is not necessarily better because it often becomes wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin which requires force to remove it. An injury can also occur if your hand is in the wrong place when the knife finally dislodges from the thick skin of the pumpkin. Injuries are also commonly sustained when the knife slips and comes out the other side of the pumpkin where your non-dominant hand may be holding the pumpkin.

USE A PUMPKIN CARVING KIT
Special kits are available in stores and include small, serrated pumpkin saws that work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue. Additionally, they are not sharp enough to cause a deep cut.

HELP FOR AN INJURY
Should you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop on its own by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be required.

Download the pumpkin carving safety infographic.

 
To learn more about conditions of the hand, safety tips, and to get to know your OAA hand surgeon better, follow them on Facebook: 

OAA Hand Institute
Richard Battista, MD - Hand/Upper Extremity Surgery
Patrick J. McDaid MD, Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon
Jay Talsania MD, Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon
Lawrence E. Weiss, MD, Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon
 
Source: ASSH
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