All around Chicagoland neighborhoods, fall is in the air, as are the fall harvest-themed holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. With these holidays comes the popularity of decorating gourds and pumpkins and cooking many pumpkin-flavored baked goods like pies, breads, and cakes. However, to decorate pumpkins or cut them open for baking can require significant skill and dexterity with knives of the larger and sharper variety. It is for this reason that we share these safety tips with our readers so that they can be aware of the dangers associated with pumpkin-carving and utilize this knowledge to prevent personal injury or injuries to others
Consumer Reports describes how every October, pumpkin carving accidents result in hand injuries at four to five times the normal rate. Hospitals commonly see cuts, puncture wounds, and lacerations that have caused damage to nerves, tendons, and joints.
To prevent such injuries, Consumer Reports advises following some safety tips. First, never let young children carve a pumpkin. Children under the age of 14 should never be handling knives to carve the pumpkin. If they want to participate with this tradition, instead let them draw the pattern with a marker or clean out the inside of the pumpkin. Second, to prevent injury to all parties involved, make sure you are using the right tools. There are specialty tools available to purchase specifically meant for pumpkin-carving, including sawing, poking holes, and scooping. Using an instrument that is small helps for better control versus a large knife. Next, it’s always important to have a good working environment. Be sure to carve your pumpkin in a clean and well-lit area. Never carve in a rush either, and make sure you have plenty of time as this can be a time-consuming task. Lastly, do your decorative work before taking the top off of the pumpkin. In this way, you will be preventing yourself from putting your hand inside of the pumpkin while cutting it, thus reducing your vulnerability to injury.
If you or someone you are carving with gets injured, know proper first aid. Consumer Reports advises applying direct pressure to the injury using a clean dry cloth. However, if bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes of treatment, get yourself or the injured person to a clinic or hospital immediately. According to the National Library of Medicine, a serious wound caused by puncture from a pointed object can result in excessive bleeding, problems with functioning or maintaining feeling at the wound site, and pain. For minor cuts and punctures, first wash your hands with soap or an antibacterial cleanser to prevent infection, and then wash the wound with mild soap and water. Use direct pressure to stop the bleeding. For a puncture it can be helpful to rinse it for 5 minutes under running water first before washing wish soap. Also look for objects inside the wound, and if anything is found, do not remove it yourself, but see a medical professional. Then, once treated, apply antibacterial ointment and apply a bandage.
At Levin & Perconti, we wish you happy and enjoyable fall holidays. While we want your Halloween to be scary, our attorneys hope that you will steer clear of one of the scariest places you could be: a hospital wing. Practice safety, and enjoy the memorable season with family and friends!