It’s that time of year again! Carving pumpkins for jack o’lanterns can be fun, but if safety isn’t kept in mind can also result in cut fingers.
Minor cuts will often stop bleeding on their own or by applying direct pressure to the wound. Most of these cuts and scraps will be minor and can be treated by washing with soap and water initially. After this initial care, keep the wound clean and dry while it heals.
However, if the bleeding continues after 15 minutes or if you lose the ability to move the finger properly (very likely a tendon injury), then seek medical attention at a hospital emergency department.
Rather than treating injuries, let's prevent the injuries.
It is best to keep these tips in mind:
Carve in a clean, dry, well-lit area. If your tools, hands or cutting table are wet, this can cause slippage and lead to injuries.
Always have adult supervision (without alcohol use). Children under age five should never carve. Instead, allow kids to draw a pattern or face on the pumpkin and have an adult carve. Allow the child to be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds. They can use their hands or a spoon for this. Children, ages five to ten, can carve but only with adult supervision.
The right way to cut. You should always cut away from yourself in small, controlled strokes. A sharp knife is not necessarily the best tool because it often becomes wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it. An injury can occur if your hand is placed incorrectly when the knife dislodges from the thicker part or slips.
Use a pumpkin carving kit.
Special pumpkin carving kits are available for purchase and include small serrated saws that are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin. If the saw does get stuck and then becomes free, it is not sharp enough to cause a major cut. Fewer injuries occur with use of carving kits.
Here’s my finished carving
Once carved, it is important to remember to KEEP dogs and cats away from Jack o'Lanterns or lighted candles as they could knock them over and start a fire.
Have a safe Halloween season!