It’s Fall, y’all! This means crisp air, changing colors, falling leaves, and pumpkins!
We all know that a favorite fall-time activity is carving pumpkins. However, along with this fun activity can come serious hand injuries, such as tendon and nerve lacerations.
These injuries most often require surgical intervention, several weeks of Occupational and Hand Therapy, as well as lost time at work.
In order to keep your hands safe, here are a few pumpkin carving safety tips and creative ideas to decorate your pumpkin this season.
1. Always use a pumpkin carving kit.
Research has shown that carving gadgets or kits are safer than using a knife (Marcus 2004). These pumpkin carving kits can be purchased for a reasonable price at most local retail stores.
If you are interested in learning about the research that has been done, here is an article supporting the benefits of using carving tools rather than standard kitchen knives.
2. Pay attention to the non-carving hand.
The hand used to hold the pumpkin is often the hand that is injured the most! Keep this hand out of the path of the carving knife.
3. Make sure your pumpkin is dry before carving.
A wet pumpkin is difficult to hold and may often cause the carving tools to slip. Keep a hand towel nearby to keep your pumpkin, and your hands dry while carving.
4. Always wash your hands after removing the seeds.
The insides of the pumpkin can be extremely slippery, leading to greater chances of injury to your hands. Once you’re done removing the seeds, wash and dry your hands before starting to carve.
5. Always have adult supervision!
Leave carving to the adults and let kids remove the slippery seeds.
Another safe alternative for kids is painting your pumpkin.
In the event of an injury while carving your pumpkin, remember that bleeding from small or minor cuts will often stop on its own by applying pressure with a clean cloth.
However, if the bleeding does not stop within 10 minutes, a visit to the ER or your physician may be needed.
Your CMC Occupational Therapy department wishes you a safe and happy Fall & Halloween season!!!
Reference: Marcus, AM, Green, JK, Werner, FM. The safety of pumpkin carving tools. Preventative Medicine. 2004; 38:799-803