Boy pricked with needle
A MOTHER is fearing the worst after her son suffered a needle stick injury in a Toormina preschool playground.
Michelle Egan took her five-year-old for blood tests yesterday after she became aware he had suffered a scratch from a large discarded needle just metres from a sharps disposal bin.
The boy had apparently discovered the needle in a mulched area of the fenced playground on Monday.
“Max picked up the needle and played with it, using it as a sword, not knowing what it was. He had it in his school bag for half the day,” Mrs Egan said.
“We are just so concerned about this; I’ve been told another child could also have come in contact with the needle. How it got there I just don’t know. No-one does.”
Doctors have told Mrs Egan the results of Max’s blood tests won’t be known for weeks.
Mrs Egan is not making any accusations against the preschool – that could not comment on the issue due to an investigation now under way – but instead focused her anger on the positioning of the sharps bin so close to a toddler’s facility.
“I believe there is an obvious link between the used needle bin and the needle turning up in the playground of the preschool,” Mrs Egan said.
“I understand responsible people put their used needles in the bin, but this is a public safety issue.
“I am not trying to put any blame for this back on the preschool, or anyone else. I just want to see the sharps bin moved to a more appropriate place. I don’t want this to happen again to someone else’s child.”
Pre-school staff moved swiftly into action attempting to reach every parent as quickly as possible about the needle find.
Coffs Harbour City Council, which promotes the safe disposal of needles and syringes in partnership with the NSW Department of Health, has also been made aware of the matter.
A council spokesperson said four public sharps disposal bins were located in the Coffs Harbour area.
“Predominantly they are used by people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, that require the use of injecting equipment,” the council spokesperson said.
“There are also small sharps disposal bins located in a number of public toilet blocks throughout the city.
“The aim of the bins is to provide a safe and secure disposal place for hypodermic needles and injecting equipment and the bins are emptied regularly by a specialist contractor.
“Council is not aware of any problems regarding the sharps bin at Toormina, where a facility has been in place for many years, but will look into Ms Egan’s concerns.”