According to a recent study, hand and finger injuries are most prevalent around Halloween, and a third of them are cuts.
Stuart J. Elkowitz, MD, a hand surgeon at Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, said, “The most common accidents associated with pumpkin carving are the stab wounds to the fingers and palm.” His experience is further confirmed by the data of the study, published in the journal Pediatrics. The reasoning behind this is because pumpkins can be both slippery and tough. Cuts and other injuries occur when a knife gets stuck in the rind, and abruptly comes loose, slicing the supporting hand. Injury can also occur as the knife handle becomes slippery with pulp, allowing the hand to slide down the blade. Here are a few safety tips for how to keep your hands pain-free and still get a well-carved pumpkin.
Always use the correct tools. Consumer Reports have tested pumpkin-carving kits and found that the specialty tools are able to saw through the rind, poke holes and remove pumpkin innards without the blades being excessively sharp. The kits also feature smaller instruments that are generally easier to control than household knives.
Carve the pumpkin prior to taking off the top and removing the innards. Dr. Elkowitz says, “That way you won’t be tempted to put your hand inside and cut toward your hand.” He also suggests holding the stem and cutting in a downward motion. Always carve pumpkins in a clean, dry, well-lit area to make sure you can see where the blade is at all times. Clean your tools and hands clean and take your time.
Don’t let children carve the pumpkin. The study discovered that many Halloween accidents involve children between the ages of 10 and 14. If a child is 14 and under, let them trace the design onto the rind of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and innards after an adult has carved the design. It’s important to supervise older teens as well, until you are confident that they are able to practice proper safety habits.
As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen the effects of pumpkin carving accidents and know the severity of their injuries. I hope that by sharing this information, our community can enjoy an injury-free pumpkin carving tradition this holiday. If you’ve been injured through the use of a defective carving tool, speak with a personal injury lawyer in your area to learn more about your rights as a consumer.