Carve a pumpkin? Here are 5 safety tips to help prevent injury.

Every Halloween season, we see four or five patients—both adults and children—come into our office with severe hand and finger injuries. says Dr. Jeffrey Wint, from the Western Massachusetts Hand Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. “Treatment can often last three to four months, from the time of surgery to rehabilitation.”

Here are some safety tips to help you avoid serious injuries:

1. Clean area

Make sure to cut in a clean, dry and well-lit place.

2. Tools

Make sure you use tools that are specific to pumpkin carving.

3. Adult supervision

Never allow children to carve pumpkins. Instead, let them draw a pattern on the pumpkin and be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds. When adults start cutting, they should always distance themselves and cut in small, controlled strokes.

Also supervise older children. “Too often, we see adolescent patients with injuries because adults feel that children are responsible enough to stay on their own,” says Dr. Wint.

4. Injuries

If you get a cut, cover it with a clean cloth and raise the injured area above your heart. If the bleeding does not stop within 10-15 minutes, or if the cut is deep, you may need to see a doctor. Make sure the wounds are cleaned and covered with a clean bandage.

5. Candles

Make sure you don’t use candles in your pumpkin, instead use an incandescent light source.

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