Families’ syringe nightmare
Kids playing at Gin Gin Showgrounds touch needle ‘on the pointy end’
A FUN, social afternoon out turned into a nightmare for two families when their children were pricked with a used needle at the Gin Gin Showgrounds at the weekend.
Tammy and Nigel Nicholson and Tahirih and Ryan McLeod attended a private function at the barbecue area in the showgrounds with their children on Sunday when the incident occurred.
About 12 to 15 children aged between one to eight years were playing around the barbecue area and the nearby animal nursery area that is under reconstruction.
“We had told them to stay away from the area but kids are kids and a replica barnyard is exciting for them,” Mrs Nicholson said.
“Next thing I knew my son is walking over to me with a syringe and needle in his hand.”
Mrs Nicholson said her son Harry, aged 5, and Mrs McLeod’s son Jack, aged 3, both admitted to touching the needle “on the pointy end”.
“As soon as Harry said that, we raced them to hospital where staff thoroughly washed and sterilised the boys’ hands, took blood samples for testing and told us Hepatitis C would be the biggest concern.”
Both families will have to wait an agonising six months for final results before they can get the all clear, with initial blood tests taken on Sunday night and further blood tests required at three and six months.
Mrs Nicholson said both families spoke with the caretaker of the Gin Gin Showgrounds on Monday, who acknowledged he had previously found needles in the grandstand area and never reported it to the council but installed more lighting to deter people.
“We also spoke to a volunteer who was rebuilding the animal nursery who said he had been finding and disposing of needles in the enclosure but unfortunately had not passed on information to authorities,” Mrs Nicholson said.
“It baffles me that this situation has been ongoing and no one has been doing anything about it – I feel like this situation could have been avoided altogether.”
Mrs Nicholson and Mrs McLeod met divisional representative Cr Wayne Honor and a workplace health and safety officer from the Bundaberg Regional Council yesterday to report the incident.
“The Gin Gin Showgrounds is under the control of the local Gin Gin Show Society and is not a council facility,” Cr Honor told the News Mail.
“Council is only responsible for the ongoing major maintenance to the toilet block, not its regular cleaning. We nonetheless have a concern for the welfare of our community,” Cr Honor said.
He said he was outraged that community members were exposed to health risks through these criminal acts.
“Incidents such as these also put at risk council workers who service these locations in the normal course of their working day.
“It is simply a hideous thing to do to leave these objects laying around.”
He said sharps bins were kept on site at an appropriate height to ensure young children do not attempt to explore the contents of the bins.
The bins are appropriately identifiable to adults who would be the demographic using the disposal receptacles.
Both Mrs Nicholson and Mrs McLeod said the whole ordeal had been an emotional rollercoaster ride.
“This is something you would never want your children to go through. It is a parent’s worst nightmare,” both mothers said.
“We want to get the word out there so other families can be made aware that there are ongoing problems in this area and hopefully something will be done about it by the necessary authorities.”
The Gin Gin Show Society was contacted by the News Mail but declined to comment.
KIDS ARE KIDS: Harry Nicholson and Jack McLeod were pricked by a used needle at the Gin Gin Showgrounds at the weekend and will undergo months of testing.