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Carve the Pumpkin, Not Your Hand

By Robert Preidt

SUNDAY, Oct. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Jack-o'-lanterns can be scary, but they shouldn't be dangerous.

Last year, pumpkin carving accounted for nearly 3,200 of the 16,706 Halloween-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments, doctors' offices and clinics, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"Pumpkin carving is a fun activity, but it can result in serious cuts on the hand and injuries to bones and tendons," American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons spokesman Dr. L. Reid Boyce Nichols said in an academy news release.

"Consider having children decorate pre-carved pumpkins with stickers and paint to avoid using sharp objects. This will allow children to join in the fun while eliminating the use of sharp objects and their risk of injury," he suggested.

Nichols, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, offered these safe-carving tips:

  • Use a pumpkin carving kit or knives that are specifically designed for carving. They're less likely to get stuck in thick pumpkin skin.
  • Carve pumpkins in a clean, dry and well-lit area, and make sure there is no moisture on the carving tools or your hands.
  • If someone suffers a cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the injured area above the heart. If bleeding does not stop within 10 to 15 minutes or if the cut is deep, you may need to see a doctor. Clean cuts and cover them with clean bandages.
  • Don't use candles in pumpkins or other Halloween decorations. Use non-flammable light sources, like glow sticks or artificial pumpkin lights.

Nichols added that pumpkin carving isn't the only potential Halloween danger.

"Trick-or-treating can be dangerous if caution is not taken when near traffic and other distractions," he said. "While you walk, look up, not down and pay attention to the people, objects and obstacles around you. Distracted walking can easily be avoided."

Remind children to use crosswalks and obey traffic signals as they go from house to house. Bright-colored costumes will be easier for motorists to see, but adding reflective tape to clothing and goodie bags will provide added visibility. Using a flashlight is also a good idea.

More information

Consumer Reports has more on pumpkin carving safety.

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, Oct. 16, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=738736

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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