Jack-o’-lanterns are a Halloween staple. Many families share in the tradition of carving pumpkins, but many also experience injuries as a result. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, hospitals treat four to five times more hand injuries in October than any other time of year.
Take precautions when carving your jack-o’-lantern by following these steps.
1. Prepare a first aid response. Before starting any pumpkin carving project, have a plan for responding to accidents quickly. If a cut occurs, apply pressure to the wound with a clean, dry cloth. If there are no signs of healing after 15 minutes, go to the emergency room.
2. Use a specialized carving kit. Most pumpkin carving kits come with tools that are not only safer for carvers to use, but more effective at sawing, poking and scooping jack-o’-lanterns.
3. Set aside enough time to get the job done. When carving a pumpkin, slower is better. Make sure you have time to pay careful attention to the task at hand.
4. Carve in clean, dry area. Slippery surfaces can lead to injury, especially when dealing with sharp objects. Keep your area and tools dry at all times.
5. Carve the pumpkin before gutting. To avoid injury, carve your design into the surface of the pumpkin before removing seeds and pulp. This will mitigate the chances of placing your hand inside the pumpkin when cutting later.
6. Have an adult do the carving for children. Do not let children younger than 14 carve pumpkins. Get kids involved by having them draw a face or pattern on the surface of the pumpkin, and have them clean out the inside with a spoon or their hands.
Source: Consumer Reports