At-Home Safety: Pumpkin Carving Safety Advice

Oct. 26, 2010
With Halloween just around the corner, you might have already purchased your pumpkin and are gearing up to carve it. While the whole family usually partakes in this fun tradition, it’s an activity that also comes with safety risks.

Many people seriously injure themselves by accidentally cutting their hands or wrists while pumpkin carving. Hand surgeon George Kardashian, M.D., of The Center for Bone and Joint Disease provides emergency tips on how to handle this scary situation and how to best prevent it from happening. Best of all, by taking the proper cautions, kids can still safely be a part of the action.

Tool Tips

“Jack-o-lanterns are part of Halloween fun, but remember to take precautions before and during cutting.” cautioned Kardashian. “Use appropriate tools such as knives that resemble small saws and are specifically made for pumpkin carving.”

These pumpkin carving knives can be purchased at almost any store selling Halloween supplies or costumes. Whatever you do, don’t use an oversized knife or a razor blade.

Despite the risks, kids can still be a part of the pumpkin carving experience.

“Kids can still be safely involved in this fun activity. Supervise and assist children,” explained Kardashian. “Allow kids to have fun with the creative designs and draw on the outside of the pumpkin. They can also have fun scooping out the insides of the pumpkin.”

Kardashian added, however, that it’s best to leave the actual carving to adults. Make sure your work area is safe and that your knife handle and hands are dry and will not slip due to moisture. After all that, you’re ready to carve out your own piece of Halloween fun.

In Case of Emergency

If an accident does occur and you find yourself in an emergency situation, Kardashian offers the following advice:

  • Remove any foreign objects – specifically, pieces of a blade or the knife itself.
  • Elevate and apply pressure constantly until you receive professional care.
  • Immediately go to a medical care facility or contact 911.
  • In situations with severe lacerations, an orthopaedic hand specialist will be brought in to assess the injury and check if a tendon, blood vessel, nerve or combination of the three have been severed and will determine if surgery is required.

“Injuries involving surgical repair do require a long recovery,” said Kardashian. “However, taking the proper precautions will eliminate the chance of an incident like that to occur.”

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