6 safety tips for pumpkin carving - HMS National, Inc.

6 safety tips for pumpkin carving

October 3, 2014

Pumpkin carving is one of fall's most anticipated activities, but it can be dangerous if you're not careful. Mixing slippery pumpkins with sharp knives requires extra supervision and a serious attitude. To prevent injury to you or your children, use the following safety tips when cutting into your seasonal gourds.

1. Choose an appropriate tool
Your best bet for carving pumpkins is an inexpensive tool kit made just for the activity. You can pick up a pumpkin carving kit at just about any retailer this time of year. However, you can also use your own tools if need be. Choose a small knife with a serrated edge for cutting and a big spoon or ice cream scoop for cleaning out the pumpkin.

2. Work in a well-lit area
When setting up your carving station, choose a table where there's ample light and space to maneuver. Lay down old newspapers to protect the surface and then use a paper towel to dry off your pumpkin. Make sure that the surface isn't slippery and that you can see what you're doing.

3. Supervise children
Most experts agree that children under 14 shouldn't do any cutting during the activity. Let your kids clean out the pumpkin guts and draw the design, but take the carving into your own hands. Supervise your children throughout the process, as even pumpkin-carving tools and candles can be dangerous.

4. Saw, don't slice
When it comes to carving, use a sharp knife to gently saw through the pumpkin's flesh. Trying to slice the skin or using too much pressure can lead to jerky movements and nicked fingers. Take your time when carving to make sure you're always in control of the knife.

5. Watch out for fingers
Be careful where you place your fingers when carving. One common problem is that it's easy to place your hand on the inside of the pumpkin to steady it. However, you can then stab your fingers when you begin to cut through the flesh. Try to hold the pumpkin on the outside, and angle knives away from your stabilizing hand when cutting.

6. Skip the candles
If you go the traditional route and light up your jack-o-lantern with a candle, don't leave it unattended. To be safe, it's best to use an electronic tea light. You can find some that flicker like real candles to give your pumpkin an authentic feel while eliminating the fire hazard and risk of burnt fingers.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.