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Bagel Safety (Don’t be an ER Statistic!)

Bagel Safety tips

Did you know? Eating bagels can be a dangerous pastime. Well, it’s not exactly the eating of the bagel, more the preparing of the bagel. It turns out that bagel related injuries are some of the most frequent causes of trips to the ER for the average American, even beating out burns form overheated coffee!:

“Americans ate an estimated 3 billion bagels at home in 2011, an average of about 11 per person (this doesn’t include bagels eaten at work). And in the course of slicing up all those bagels, almost 2,000 people cut their fingers so badly that they ended up in an emergency room. By the finger-cut-to-E.R. metric, that makes bagel-cutting the fifth most dangerous activity in the American kitchen. So it shouldn’t be surprising that an array of home gadgets have arrived on the scene to prevent bagel-related injuries.”

At least half of these injuries are caused by people trying to cut bagels that are frozen. A frozen bagel will prove surprisingly resistant to even the sturdiest knife, and a slippage is almost a given – resulting in slices to the hands and fingers.

The rest of the injuries are generally caused by trying to cut a stale or cold bagel with a non serrated knife, again resulting in the knife slipping and slicing where it isn’t meant to cut.

How can you avoid bagel related injuries? Following these simple guidelines can help:

  1. Don’t cut frozen bagels. Wait until the bagel is thawed fully! It’s just not worth the risk. If possible, slice bagels before freezing them and they will thaw more quickly!
  2. Use the right kind of knife for slicing bagels. This would be a knife with a deeply serrated edge, NOT a knife with a smooth, sharp edge. The serration helps “rip” into the bagel with a crosscut saw type effect, gripping and cutting into the bagel instead of slipping across the crust and cutting your hand.
  3. NEVER cut a bagel while holding it in your hand. Also, don’t stand the bagel on end and try to cut it – it will slide or roll and increase the chances of a knife related injury. Instead, Place the bagel flat side down on a flat surface, flatten your palm on top of it, and carefully slice the bagel horizontally.
  4. Use a bagel slicer if available; this handy device holds the bagel and keeps the knife from slipping and slicing your fingers off. These come in both plastic and metal, and guard your hands while allowing you to easily slice the bagel.
  5. For stale bagels, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for a few seconds before slicing, this will soften the crust and make cutting the bagel easier.

Following these simple rules can help you keep all of your digits intact, and reduce the chances of an emergency trip to the hospital for stitches followed by the embarrassment of admitting you have been the victim of a bagel slicing accident!