Toddlers and Tin Cans

Sean Locke/ Istock

I have seen more horrific finger lacerations from improperly opened canned foods than I can count.  It happened again this week.  It’s usually the same story.  Mom is busy cooking dinner.  Curious toddler finds the recently opened can in the bin.  The lid is still partially attached.  Mother hears the child screaming as the initial laceration injury occurs. Then in the panic, as the can is pulled away, the attached lid severs the child’s trapped finger(s) further in what could be described as an incomplete degloving injury. The result is a deep peeling of the flesh from the surface of the digit analogous to the removal of a glove.  This week it was multiple fingers.  Sometimes they get lucky and it is only one.  As a health conscious family we do not eat a lot of canned foods but our Trader Joe’s coconut milk and cream both come in tin cans.  I am and I urge you to be very cautious in the disposal of these types of cans.  For the very safety conscious family I highly recommend the smooth edge type of can openers.  The one I linked to is only about 12$ on Amazon.  This takes all the worry out.  There is a slight learning curve to using it but once you get the hang of it there isn’t much of a difference from the regular can opener.  Another trick I employ when using a conventional can opener is to completely remove the lid.  Rinse the can and then carefully poke the lid (with a tool of your choice) to the bottom of the tin can before burying it in the recycling.  You’d basically have to use a knife to the lift it back up and out of the can.  The top edge is still sharp but the guillotine potential has been removed.  It is really the trapping of the finger between those sharp edges that causes the worst injuries.  Also remember it is important to teach your caregivers as well.  I found a tin can in guillotine confirmation that the sitter had opened.  If older kids in your household are opening cans I would highly recommend the smooth opening type tool.  It could save a finger or at least an unwanted trip to the urgent care.  

If you are ever faced with this type of injury.  Rinse the wound immediately and then apply pressure.  Keep the pressure.  Don’t be tempted to peek.  Small arteries can be involved.  Seek immediate care.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s