Pumpkin Carving 101: Safe, Not Scary!

Grandmother and granddaughter making jack o lantern on Halloween in kitchen smilingHalloween is magical for kids and parents, but as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Mishaps can happen, but pumpkin-carving injuries are preventable when Jack O’ Lantern time gets into full swing.

Hand injuries, some of them severe enough to warrant surgery and months-long rehabilitation, can happen to children and adults alike.

There are safeguards that may help avoid hand injuries, including the following:

  • Prepare a carving area that’s bright and uncluttered so you can really see what you’re doing.
  • Let the adults (not the kids) do the carving. Children should never handle knives of any kind! Give them their own smaller pumpkins to draw on or decorate with stickers and stencils.
  • Always use a plastic carving kit for pumpkins. The utensils are usually smaller, duller, and easier to handle than regular sharp knives and saws that can cause harm if they get stuck and have to be yanked out. Hands can slip, and real knives can also poke through to the side where another hand rests.
  • Have paper towels or rags at the ready. You’ll need them to wipe down utensils and wipe pumpkins dry to gain a secure hold. Use a couple of bowls for collecting the “insides” – some for disposal, and some for pumpkin pie or bread. (Pumpkin seeds are also delicious as a toasted, seasoned snack.)
  • Use flashlights or glow sticks instead of candles in your Jack O’ Lanterns! Never leave a flame unattended or near anything that could ignite, like curtains or dried flowers. If you do use short candles inside a Jack O’ Lantern, make sure they have holders to separate the flame and wax from the pumpkin itself. Candles without holders can fall and burn right through!

By Lisa Miceli Feliciano

Sources include: www.aap.org

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