In addition to food poisoning and cooking accidents, hand injuries are a common cause of Thanksgiving Day trips to the emergency room.
A few simple carving tips can be the difference between an enjoyable Thanksgiving filled with family, food and football or an emergency trip to the ER.
“Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and enjoy family and not a time for pain and hospital visits,” said Bill Atkins, CEO of All Star Physical Therapy. “Injuries as a result of unsafe turkey carving practices are easily avoidable by using the proper carving materials and techniques. Be safe, and enjoy the holiday with friends and family, not at your local hospital.”
Hand therapists at All Star Physical Therapy share five tips for safe turkey carving:
— Choose the right utensils. An electric knife is the best way to slice through a cooked turkey but a 7- or 9-inch carving knife will also do the trick. Consider using kitchen shears for those hard-to-cut areas such as bones.
— Avoid a slippery situation. Juices from carving your turkey may result in your utensils and hands becoming slippery. A slippery knife handle is a recipe for disaster, so keep a hand towel or paper towel close by. Avoid the pain — don’t slip up.
— Protect your body. Be sure to cut and carve away from your body. Having your blade facing away from you will lessen the likelihood of slicing your skin. Never place your hand under the blade to catch the cut turkey meat and place your non-carving hand on the opposite side you are carving toward.
— Be sharp. Dull knives are more likely to cause slips yet are still sharp enough to cause an injury, so keep all carving utensils sharp. A sharp knife will eliminate the need to use excessive force when carving and thus creating a potentially dangerous situation.
— Turkey carving is not child’s play. Resist the temptation to allow your child to become part of the turkey carving tradition and let them watch and learn for another day. As mentioned above, turkey carving can be dangerous if not done by an experienced individual, so let the children watch from a safe distance.