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Published on October 16, 2012

Crozer-Keystone Gives Safety Tips for Pumpkin Carving Season 

SPRINGFIELD, Pa— Fall is in full swing, and it’s time for costumes, candy and the carving of pumpkins. Unfortunately, if you’re not being as safe as possible, one mistake while carving that jack-o-lantern can cause a screeching halt to the fun and an immediate trip the emergency room. 

“We see lots of accidental lacerations and puncture wounds to the hands and fingers in the emergency room this time of the year with pumpkin carving being so popular,” says Blane Sessions, M.D., hand surgeon with the Crozer-Keystone/Philadelphia Hand Center Partnership. “Some may require a simple wash-out and suture, while others require the surgical repair of the tendons, nerves or blood vessels—depending on the severity of the wound.” 

Safety Tips

It’s very important, especially if children are helping out, to follow simple safety instructions while enjoying the fun of Halloween pumpkin carving. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Let the adults do the carving. Children should not do the actual carving or cutting. They can help out by scooping out the insides of the pumpkin and decorating the pumpkin with paint.
  • Use a special, commercial pumpkin carving kit instead of kitchen knives. Pumpkin carving kits are easy to find in most retail stores several weeks before Halloween. The tools that are included in these kits are specifically designed for pumpkin carving, are less sharp, and are safer to use. If you can’t use a carving kit, you should use a small, serrated knife. Even though they are less sharp and are much safer, it’s still important to keep cutting tools away from children.
  • Wear gloves. Wearing gloves can make a huge difference if you do accidentally get a laceration on the hand or finger. Gloves can prevent the blade from cutting deeply, or can even help keep the blade from cutting or scratching the skin altogether.
  • Be aware of the direction you are cutting. It’s also important to be vigilant not to cut toward the direction of an opposing limb or portion of the body.
  • Buy a pre-carved pumpkin or decorate it without cutting. Even though it may be less fun that actually carving the pumpkin, several retail stores sell pumpkins that are already carved. Also, there are many ways to decorate a pumpkin that do not require risking an injury. Kids can use markers, paint, and even glue-on embellishments to create a fun or scary pumpkin design. 

“Following these safety tips can help to avoid accidents,” Sessions adds. “But, if you do find yourself in the emergency room after a not-so-friendly encounter with a pumpkin carving tool, rest assured that we can help.” 

Watch Our Video on Safe Pumpkin Carving Tips

Watch our video on safe pumpkin carving tips with Blane Sessions, M.D. and Katelyn.

Crozer-Keystone’s orthopedics and plastic surgery specialists work “hand in hand” with the experts at The Philadelphia Hand Center to bring you the kind of care that is second to none. All in a familiar and convenient setting that’s close to home. To learn more about our team of hand specialists as well as our comprehensive hand and wrist services, locations and more, call 1-855-CK-HAND (1-855-254-4263) or visit http://hand.crozerkeystone.org. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

Contact Us

Crozer-Keystone Health System

Grant Gegwich, Vice President

Phone: 610-447-6316
Fax: 610-447-2015
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Crozer-Chester Medical Center
Kate Stier, Director

Phone: 610-447-6314
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Pager: 610-541-3130

Community Hospital
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Springfield Hospital
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Healthplex Sports Club
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Delaware County Memorial Hospital

Mary Wascavage
Director of Public Relations and Marketing

Phone: 610-284-8619
Fax: 610-284-8606
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Taylor Hospital

Mary Wascavage, Director

Phone: 610-284-8619
Fax: 610-284-8606
Pager: 610-318-0861