How much fun are Jack o’ Lanterns? I love visiting the pumpkin patch, picking out just the right one and deciding what funny face it will become.
My little sister was the queen of picking the biggest and heaviest pumpkin in the patch and then lugging it back home. But God love her, she’s not the most graceful being and there were more than a few bumps and bruises along the way.
Most kids are so excited about pumpkin carving, that they don’t always remember proper safety precautions. That’s where parents come in! So here are three simple rules to keep little fingers from getting hurt this Halloween:
1. Leave the actual carving to the adults.
How old is your kid? Most websites recommend that kids younger than 14 need a parent’s supervision at all times and should NOT be allowed to handle the carving tools. Younger children can help by decorating small pumpkins with glitter, markers and other kid-friendly decorative materials. They can also help pick out the design – and giving them an official title like “creative director” is sure to make them feel like part of the process.
2. Pick the right tools.
Pumpkin carving kits are great because they are specially designed with safety in mind, and made to be gripped when slippery. They are also smaller and way less sharp than regular kitchen knives – but work just as well thanks to the serrated blade. Remember, sharper isn’t better when it comes to pumpkin carving! Don’t forget to lay out newspapers to keep the surface under the pumpkin from becoming too slippery.
3. Use careful carving techniques
First, always point the blade away from you when carving. Gently saw back and forth (instead of slicing) to get the best design. Resist the temptation to use too much force – getting all macho with the cutting process makes it much more likely that you’ll end up cutting yourself! And last but not least, watch where you put your hands. If you are using one hand to steady the pumpkin from the inside, make sure you don’t accidentally poke through from out the outside. Ouch!
Above all, work slowly and carefully! Don’t rush through pumpkin time and everyone is sure to have a fun and safe experience!
Note: According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, if you do cut your finger or hand, make sure the hand is elevated higher than the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be necessary.