Carving a pumpkin? Here are 5 safety tips so injuries don't creep up on you.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says nearly half of all Halloween-related injuries are related to pumpkin carving.
"Every Halloween season we see four or five patients — both adults and children — who come into our office with severe injuries to their hands and fingers," says Dr. Jeffrey Wint, from The Hand Center of Western Massachusetts in Springfield, Massachusetts. "Treatment can often run three to four months, from the time of surgery through rehabilitation."
Here are some safety tips to help you avoid scary injuries:
1. Clean area
Make sure you carve in a clean, dry and well-lit area.
Make sure you use tools that are specific for pumpkin carving.
3. Adult supervision
Never let children do the pumpkin carving. Instead let them draw a pattern on the pumpkin and have them be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds. When the adults do start cutting, they should always cut away from themselves and cut in small, controlled strokes.
Also supervise older kids. "All too often, we see adolescent patients with injuries because adults feel the kids are responsible enough to be left on their own," says Dr. Wint.
If you do get cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the injured area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes, or if the cut is deep, you may need to contact your doctor. Make sure cuts are cleaned and covered with clean bandages.
Make sure you don't use candles inside your pumpkins, instead use a nonflammable light source.