ProRehab’s Eric McElroy in The Courier Journal with Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

From pumpkin carving to trick-or-treating, here are 10 tips for a safe Halloween

In 2020, as we were all hyper-focused on Halloween safety associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, other holiday safety precautions may have taken a back seat. Things like reminding our kids how to safely cross streets, safe pumpkin carving and other practical measures to keep your family safe.

While the threat of the coronavirus is still in play for 2021, especially because kids 5-11 years old will not be vaccinated by Halloween night, we can all use a refresher when it comes to keeping scary out of Halloween.

First off, the safety protocols in place last Halloween are wise to incorporate again in 2021. Children should continue to wear protective facial masks, frequently apply hand sanitizer and keep a safe distance from other little trick or treaters on doorsteps and while walking down sidewalks.

Adults should also frequently clean their hands and distribute candy individually rather than inviting kids to pull treats from a community bowl.

Beyond COVID-19 safety measures, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reminds us there were more than 2,700 Halloween-related injuries in 2019 and more than 40% of the injuries were related to pumpkin carving.

“We love the creativity we see each year when people decorate their pumpkins, but we don’t love it when adults or even kids come into our clinic because they have accidentally lacerated tendons or nerves in their hands while carving pumpkins,” said Eric McElroy with ProRehab Physical Therapy in Louisville. “Wound care, splints, and months of hand therapy can result from pumpkin carving accidents, and we want to help folks avoid that so they can enjoy the holiday injury-free with their ghosts and goblins.”

Safety tips for carving Halloween pumpkins

Carve pumpkins in a well-lit and dry area. Carving pumpkins outside keeps the mess out of the house, but make sure the area is well-lit so you can see what you are doing. Keep the carving area, pumpkin, your hands, and carving tools dry so there are no unintended slip-ups that could leave you carving more than your pumpkin.

Use a pumpkin carving kit. Large chef knives can cut deep and require force to pull out, and that is when many accidents happen. Leave the big chef knives for the horror movies and use the pumpkin carving kits that are sold in most grocery or convenience stores. The small tools are specially designed for pumpkin carving safety and the serrated pumpkin saws can cut your pumpkin without getting stuck deep in the pumpkin’s skin — or your skin.

Carve away from your body. Use the same common sense you would when using any knife, cut and carve away not toward your body. Also use small strokes, almost like an edging. Don’t try to cut all the way through the pumpkin in one stroke.

Continue reading for more tips.

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