Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Avoid Pumpkin Carving Hand Injuries

Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips - Photo by Stephen Mihalcik at Wikimedia Commons
October bring with it cooler weather, a glorious splash of colorful leaves, and pumpkins. Many people like to carve pumpkins, turning them into works of glowing art that are proudly displayed on a table, doorstep, or other prominent place.

Few people would like to view their pumpkin from the window of an ambulance, but unfortunately, serious hand injuries can result when carving a pumpkin. Many folks pull out the kitchen knives and begin hacking away...only to realize that they have left a gash in an unsuspecting hand or finger.

How to Safely Carve a Pumpkin - Photo by TheKohser at Wikimedia Commons
Leave the carving to the adults

Children can easily become injured while using a sharp object such as a knife, so leave the cutting to the older folks. Just because the kids are not cutting does not mean that they need to feel left out! Involve them in the project in a variety of ways:
  • Let them pick a template or theme for the design.
  • Have them draw the design by tracing or using a freehand style either on the pumpkin or on a piece of paper.
  • Kids can scoop the goop on the inside of the pumpkin with a large spoon – you can also add a variety of fun, tasty, and/or educational activities with the pumpkin seeds.
  • Encourage the kids to add color with markers, crayons, glitter and glue, or paint.
  • Let them pick a glow stick for a freaky, colorful glow.
Keep Kids Safe at Halloween - Photo by Anders Legeras at Wikimedia Commons
Use utensils designed for carving pumpkins

Pumpkins are often large and thick, but grabbing a butcher knife or very long serrated knife may not produced the desired results. Many times these longer and wider utensils get stuck in the pumpkin and a person could easily suffer a laceration while trying to forcibly remove the knife.

Fortunately, many inexpensive pumpkin carving kits are now available that contain small saws. These may enable the carver to cut areas much easier and with more precision with less chance for serious injury.

Jack-o'-Lantern Safety Tips - Photo by Immanuel Giel at Wikimedia Commons
Pick a safe atmosphere and cutting movements

Choose an area that is clean and well-lit and place the pumpkin on a stable surface. Thoroughly wash and dry equipment and hands so that items are less likely to slip while carving. You may wish to cut the top out last so that you will be less likely to place your hand inside the pumpkin while carving. Small, controlled movements tend to be safer. Cut in a direction that is away from oneself.

Keep sharp objects out of reach of inquisitive fingers as well!

Family Activities for October - Decorate a Pumpkin - Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Family Activity: Decorate a pumpkin in October

Pumpkin decorating can be a fun family activity full of exciting memories. You might wish to cut out the sharp objects altogether and simply create a fun design on the outside of the pumpkin. Keeping it safe is always a great idea for any time of year.

Find more of Katrena's articles at Fit Tips 4 Life.

Sources accessed on October 15, 2012:

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