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The specialty-trained doctors at OAK Orthopedics offer expert pumpkin carving safety guidelines for adults and families to follow this year. Patients in need of specialized hand care are encouraged to call (815) 928-8050 to be seen by one of the hand doctors at the practice’s Bradley Office, located at 400 S. Kennedy Drive, Suite 100, or their Watseka Office, located at 200 Fairman Ave. 

“Every year, there are multitudes of minor and serious hand and finger injuries from pumpkin carving,” says Dr. Kermit Muhammad, fellowship-trained, board-certified hand surgeon at OAK Orthopedics. “To help keep our community safe, we’ve compiled a list of helpful safety tips to follow to keep this Halloween tradition fun and, hopefully, injury-free.”

Follow these safety tips to help avoid carving injuries:

  • Leave carving to the adults: Kids can draw outlines and help with cleaning the pumpkin, but as soon as the carving starts, anyone who is not the carver should be at least an arm’s length away.
  • Only carve with the proper tools: Don’t pull out the kitchen knives. Use only pumpkin carving tool kits, as the tools in these kits are designed specifically for safely carving pumpkins.
  • Before carving, prepare the area: Ensure that your pumpkin and the entire area you’ll be carving in is clean, dry, level and well-lit. Keep your pumpkin and tools dry as you carve to avoid slipping.
  • Use the proper technique: Start carving at the top, work your way down the pumpkin and keep it stable. Don’t rush. Make sure you carve away from your body and keep others at least three feet away while you carve. 
  • Be careful with candles: Leave the lighting and placing of candles to the adults as well. Avoid burns to the hands and arms by using an extended lighter or other alternatives to keep the flame away from you. Flashlights and LED lights are an excellent alternative to candles.
  • Try not carving: You can also decorate pumpkins with paint and markers, or even glue and fabrics, while leaving carving tools alone altogether.
  • In the event of injury: Make sure you clean the wound with soap and water and apply pressure. If you feel any numbness, intense pain or have any loss of movement in a finger, seek medical attention.

Specializing in injuries, conditions and treatments of the hand, wrist and elbow, Dr. Muhammad joined OAK Orthopedics in 2005. He is board-certified in orthopedic surgery by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and possesses a Certificate of Added Qualification in hand surgery. Dr. Muhammad currently sees patients at the practice's Bradley Office.

To learn more about pumpkin carving injuries or to schedule an appointment with one of the hand specialists at OAK Orthopedics, please call (815) 928-8050 or request an appointment online.