With Halloween just weeks away, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons released safety guidance Wednesday aiming to reduce trauma injuries and visits to emergency departments related to pumpkin carving and other holiday-related festivities.
“It is important for parents to establish clear boundaries with their kids and teach them safety tips to ensure they have a positive experience, rather than having to visit the hospital,” said Dr. Craig Phillips, orthopaedic hand surgeon and AAOS spokesperson, in a statement. “Using proper pumpkin carving instruments and cutting away from the body is just one way to avoid musculoskeletal injuries.”
Experts also advised using a pumpkin carving kit or knives specifically meant for carving to lower the risk of the knife getting stuck in the pumpkin skin. Other tips include carving pumpkins in a clean, dry area with adequate lighting, with no moisture on the tools or hands.
Should an injury occur, such as a cut, experts advise applying pressure with a clean cloth, elevating the injured area above the heart, cleaning the cut and covering it with a bandage. Consider seeking medical attention if the cut is deep and bleeding persists past 10-15 minutes, experts say.
Also opt for non-flammable lights instead of candles inside pumpkins and other decorations, the group says.
Nearly half of Halloween-related injuries in 2018 involved pumpkin carving, though almost 2,700 injuries involved trips and falls, AAOS noted, citing data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, with 27% of injuries including lacerations and ingestions, among others.
For full safety recommendations, click here.