Don’t get hurt by hard-to-open packaging this holiday season

So-called “wrap rage” affects countless people each holiday season. Hard-to-open packaging can be frustrating, especially when a child is getting impatient to play with a new toy. As a result, some people resort to unsafe methods of opening packaging, which can cause deep lacerations that require emergency care. If you do need medical attention this holiday season, the emergency care team at Southern Hills Hospital is here to help—although we sincerely hope you won’t have need of our services.

Look for opening indicators

Some manufacturers have responded to packaging frustrations by including opening indicators. Perforated lines or labels stating “Open Here” indicate that the plastic wrap should tear open easily at that location. Always check packages for opening indicators before resorting to scissors or a knife.

Take initial steps to prevent injuries

If plastic packaging is stubbornly resisting conventional opening techniques, take the item away from other people before using anything sharp on it. Place the item on a hard, flat surface—never hold it in your lap when using a sharp implement. Next, put on protective work gloves, just in case.

Use sharp tools safely

If you use a knife, remember to cut away from your body. Don’t place your other hand in the path of the implement.

If you use scissors, choose heavy-duty utility scissors that feature a blunt tip. Avoid completely extending the scissors and using just one blade, as this requires that you place your hand on the other blade.

Open clamshell packaging with a can opener

Clamshell packaging is that tough, seemingly indestructible plastic wrap that often houses expensive electronics. It’s intended to deter theft, but it’s resulted in plenty of emergency care visits.

Try opening it with a can opener instead of a knife or scissors. Place the can opener on the bottom edge of the package, and turn it until you get to the other side of the package.

And remember to stay calm. No matter how frustrating plastic packaging can be, dealing with it calmly is preferable to spending your holidays receiving stitches .

If injuries do affect your family, the emergency care doctors at Southern Hills Hospital are available day or night, every day of the year. Serious medical problems don’t take time off for the holidays, and so we don’t, either. Call 911 for true medical emergencies, or call a registered nurse in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023 for non-emergent inquiries only.

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