Mother says her children found syringe in Gahanna

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GAHANNA, Ohio - A Gahanna mother is trying to start a conversation about the importance of educating children about syringes.

It was behind her house in a nature preserve last Thursday where her children were playing. It was the middle of the day. She says the children would come back to the house about 100 yards away every 15 minutes to check in.

"My daughter came up, two of them came up and they were like 'Mom, do you want a shot'," she said. "I was like 'What are you guys talking about'?"

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We're not telling the mother's identity to help protect her and her children's privacy. Her children, ages 8 and 6 were asking their mother if she wanted a shot with what they had found while playing.

"They were holding the syringe in their hand, uncapped," she said. "But [they] had the cap in their hand."

She says she freaked out and told the girls to drop it. She took them inside and repeatedly washed their hands with soap and hot water.

"It was capped when they found it," she said. "They took the cap off. They played with it, they filled it up with water like a kid would do with like a squirt gun at the pool and shot water out of it."

Then, she says the girls touched the tip of the needle to see if it was sharp. She kept it in a bottle, unsure if it could be tested. A neighbor who is also a nurse told her to take her children to urgent care where they had to have blood drawn, testing for things like hepatitis and HIV.

"They'll be getting blood work done for the next six months," the mother said.

She says her children have also started a preventative drug. They'll have to take three pills a day for the next four weeks.

"I asked them if it hurt when they [touched] it and they said no," she said.

She says there were never any markings on their hands. There were no bruises and no signs of the needle breaking the skin.

"It never crossed my mind to even say 'Oh, you might find a syringe outside playing, let's not touch it, or when you do tell me or another adult'," she said. "It never crossed my mind."

She says it's common to talk to your children about guns and knives and strangers, but now she's hoping parents will see this story and take a few minutes to continue this conversation with their children.