Pumpkin carving season is in full swing in Chester County, PA! Before you and your loved ones pick up the knife and scoop, check out the following tips to keep your hands free from injury! 

Pumpkin carving is a common cause of injuries seen by hand surgeons each October. Stab injuries to the hand can result in damage to tendons and nerves, resulting in the need for ongoing treatment. 

Here are some tips on how to be safe but still enjoy this cherished tradition:

  • Always have adult supervision. Children can have fun drawing out a stencil or face on the pumpkin. Scooping out the pumpkin is usually one of their favorite activities. Leave the actual carving of the pumpkin to the adults!
  • A Pumpkin Carving Set is recommended. The tools are smaller and not as razor sharp. This is a case of sharper not always being better! It is also important to ensure the tools remain clean and dry to avoid slipping.
  • Make sure the area you are using is well lit.  
  • Cut away from yourself and in small controlled strokes. Quick abrupt motions to dislodge a thick piece can result in a stab to the hand. 
  • Carve with the top on the pumpkin. This avoids placing your other hand inside the pumpkin and avoiding a blind cut. 
  • Consider cutting a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin for candle placement. You can light the candle, then place the pumpkin overtop of it, saving you from a potential burn injury. If using a safe flame-free battery operated candle, the hole in the bottom makes it easier to turn it on and off.  

If you do injure yourself, keep the following in mind: 

  • For minor cuts apply direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth. If bleeding doesn’t stop within 15 minutes, a trip to the emergency room is warranted. 
  • Any concerns of a more serious injury should be addressed by your medical providers.

Happy Halloween and Safe Carving from Chester County Hospital!


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