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Toddler steps on fluid-filled needle at Ocean Shores beach

(File photo)

For middle school teacher Carey McKnight and her four-year-old son, it was a carefree mother-son trip to Ocean Shores to celebrate the start of summer break.

Hand-in-hand, the two were busily following the trail of a beetle along the beach of the Quinault Beach Resort.

But an idyllic evening quickly turned into a nightmare when McKnight heard her son let out a scream.

“All of a sudden my son said, ‘Ow!’ and I looked down, and there was a hypodermic needle,” McKnight told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

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The little boy had trod on a needle filled with fluid. McKnight said that she “freaked out.”

“I literally just wanted to die, I wish it would have been me,” she said through tears. “He’s just a baby.”

Firefighters soon arrived on the scene, but McKnight felt that they were “too nonchalant,” telling her that occurrences of people stepping on needles happen often.

“No they don’t,” she said. “They shouldn’t happen.”

Ocean Shores beach trip

McKnight took her son to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, but the facility was neither able to test the substance to find out what it was, nor able to test the needle for HIV. Her son received a series of shots and had six vials of blood drawn, but the McKnight family will have to wait up to six months to find out if he contracted a disease from the needle.

“And this was from Harborview … I went to the big guns,” McKnight said.

Thankfully, for her son, all that the incident represented was the exciting chance to see firefighters and firetrucks in action. Since, like most other children, he often falls down, scrapes his knees, and bruises himself, a “little poke to him wasn’t a big deal,” McKnight said. She has not explained anything about drug use or the dangers of used needles to him.

“I don’t want him to think that the world is unsafe, although it is,” she said. “I don’t want him to live in fear.”

Still, McKnight herself now lives in fear, not only of her child’s test results, but also of what the most seemingly safe places have turned into.

“Our world is coming to a place where children could get a disease and die because of people’s carelessness,” she said.

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