“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.