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Nothing says Halloween quite like a jack-o-lantern. Each October many families enjoy the tradition of carving pumpkins.
Sometimes, though, the fun of this family activity, can make people forget about the danger of using sharp knives. The truth is there are some inherent risks with carving a pumpkin.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, lacerations to the hand accounted for the most Halloween-related emergency room visits. Nearly 18 percent of injuries related to Halloween are on fingers and hands; 33 percent of those injuries were lacerations and 20 percent were fractures.
Children are often the ones who sustain an injury because they don’t measure the risk. Their concentration is on the task at hand and they don’t realize some of the danger.
It’s important for parents to be aware of the dangers and take steps to minimize the risk of injury.
There are certain things that you can do to minimize the risk of injury.
Pumpkin carving kits are available online and in stores, and they exist for a reason. They are especially helpful if children will be involved. Because of the consistency of the pumpkin it is a lot safer to use an instrument that is small and works like a small saw instead of a sharp kitchen knife. The pumpkin has a very tough exterior and then the interior is softer. Some kits contain stencils, which are even safer for children. They often include a scooping tool that is great for removing the interior pulp and seeds – and a safe job for the kids.
Of course, there are always alternatives to carving to keep it even safer. Try finger paints, watercolor paints, or magic markers and allow your child to get creative without the threat of sharp tools. It won’t make for any less fun on fright night!
We hope you have a happy Halloween, but if you do have an accident, our emergency services are always available to you.
Dr. Manuel DaSilva is an orthopedic surgeon with the Lifespan Orthopedics Institute. He specializes in the treatment of injuries and musculoskeletal conditions related to the hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Specifically, he has expertise in caring for carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures of the hand, wrist and elbow, arthritis, and joint replacement.