Pumpkin carving 101: 3 mistakes that put you at risk of injury
Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin , CTV Vancouver
Published Thursday, October 19, 2017 11:10AM PDT
Think you know the proper way to carve a pumpkin?
Chances are there are three things you’re doing wrong which could put you at risk for injuries.
Each October, hospitals treat four to five times more hand injuries than usual as a results of pumpkin carving mishaps.
“Every year, I do see patients that come in with a hand-related injury—lacerations of digital nerves as well as flexor tendons,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stuart J. Elkowitz.
Here are some dos and don’ts to help keep you safe.
For starters, don’t reach for kitchen knives. They’re sharp and they’ll slip around, making it easy to cut yourself.
Instead, use specialized tools for pumpkin carving.
“They’re much smaller, they’re much less sharp and they’re going to be much easier to handle as you’re carving the tough pumpkin skin,” explained Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports.
If you do have to use a kitchen knife, make sure they have short handles.
Doctors also recommend you don’t clean out your pumpkin before you carve. That way you’re not tempted to put your hand inside and cut towards it.
“You’re setting your opposite hand up for sustaining a penetrating injury,” said Dr. Elkowitz.
Removing the insides of the pumpkin could also make the outside more slippery if you don’t properly clean the pumpkin afterwards.
If you want to be extra careful, take off the bottom of the pumpkin, not the top.
Lighting and dropping a candle into a pumpkin is tricky. With the bottom removed, you can place the pumpkin overtop of the candle, which will help keep you from getting burned.
And finally, don’t let young children carve. Instead, let them create the patterns and scoop out the pulp to keep them safe from injuries.
In the event you or someone you know gets cut while carving a pumpkin, apply direct pressure on the injury using a clean, dry cloth. If bleeding doesn’t stop within 15 minutes, go to an emergency room.