Safe Pumpkin Carving: Tips for Families
The spookiest thing about Halloween isn’t your neighbor’s evil clown costume—it’s the real safety risks posed by this holiday. You may be surprised to learn that the leading cause of Halloween-related emergency room visits is actually pumpkin carving! The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 3,000 people were injured carving pumpkins in 2017.
Like you, we hope to keep the tradition of pumpkin carving alive for generations to come—which is why we’ve compiled these pumpkin carving tips for keeping your family safe this Halloween.
1. Leave the Carving to the Adults
It’s up to you to determine if your children are able to handle sharp tools and carve pumpkins themselves (with supervision). Until then, Otherwise, handling the pumpkin carving yourself to keep your children from getting hurt.
To keep them fully engaged in the pumpkin-carving process, you can let your young children gut the pumpkins by hand (you may need to scrape the inner walls with a large spoon or dough scraper after they’re done), trace designs from a stencil, decorate finished pumpkins with stickers, or color the pumpkins with non-toxic markers and paints.
Keep in mind that even adults can suffer from pumpkin-carving-related injuries! Keep yourself safe by following the rest of our pumpkin carving tips.
2. Use a Pumpkin Carving Knife
Kitchen knives are often too sharp to be safe for pumpkin carving, and they tend to get stuck inside the pumpkin more easily. We recommend using a knife explicitly designed for pumpkin carving, which can usually be found inside a pumpkin carving kit.
3. Keep Things Clean & Dry
Anyone who’s ever opened a pumpkin knows that the insides can make a sticky, slippery mess, which is one of the reason's pumpkin carving can be dangerous. Make sure you thoroughly clean out the inside of your pumpkin before you carve and keep wiping away the pumpkin’s juices throughout the carving process to keep yourself from slipping with a knife in your hand.
4. Carve in the Light
Proper overhead lighting allows you to see what you’re doing at all times. Following this pumpkin-carving tip is easy—set up your carving station in a well-lit part of your house, or outside in the early afternoon, when there’s plenty of sunshine.
5. Go Slowly and Pay Attention
When handling sharp tools, it’s best to minimize distractions and be mindful of what you’re doing at all times. Never carve in a rush or look away while you have a knife in your hand. Try to keep your phone on silent and your children occupied while you’re carving.
6. Don’t Use Candles
Beautiful as they may be, using real candles inside carved pumpkins poses a fire risk and safety hazard. Opt for non-flammable light sources like artificial tea light candles or glowsticks.
7. Be prepared in case of an accident
In the event of a pumpkin-carving mishap, you’ll be thankful if you’ve placed your first aid supplies nearby. For cuts, place a clean, dry cloth over the cut and apply continuous pressure. If the bleeding doesn’t slow or stop after about 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be required.
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