EVERETT, Wash. - A toddler had to go to the hospital after being pricked by a dirty needle at a playground in Everett, sparking concerns in the community about the safety at local parks.
The 3-year-old was playing at Garfield Park at 2300 Walnut St. on Thursday afternoon when his babysitter, Dana Smith, heard a scream.
“The way he was screaming, he’s never screamed like that,” Smith said. “It was so scary and he was hysterical.”
She looked through the mulch and found a needle that appeared to be half used and filled with a brown substance. After safely retrieving it, she took the boy to the hospital.
“The things that are going through your head when you see this dirty, used needle and a 3-year-old boy standing there with blood coming out of his fingertip, it’s crazy,” Smith said.
She says it’s even more concerning because it’s impossible to determine how many needles could be hiding in Everett parks.
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“People are so furious, but no one knows what to do,” Smith said.
Smith says neighbors have been concerned about the city’s needle-exchange program. She’s worried what happened is a result of lenient rules.
“It just feels like there’s not a real safe place to be, to play, to sit,” she says.
Right after KIRO 7’s interview with Smith, a man was looking through the same area where the child was pricked with the needle Thursday. He admitted to a photographer that he was looking for drug paraphernalia that he left behind.
Everett Police were called to the scene after the man attacked the photographer, who asked him to leave after the man said he smoked meth and was still high.
"This is what you see on a daily basis,” Smith says, “to have him physically come and look at the spot where a little boy got poked with a needle yesterday looking for his paraphernalia, I’m not coming back to this park.”
Detectives are now investigating whether the man left behind the needle that pricked the toddler.
“It takes one needle and one kid,” Smith said.
Members of the community performed a sweep of Garfield Park last summer, looking for needles and drug paraphernalia. Smith says people coming to the park can’t be too careful.
“To see it actually happen puts such a fear deep inside of you that it can be crippling,” she said.
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