Town of Stratford investigating after 10-year-old steps on hypodermic needle at Short Beach
A young girl's trip to a Stratford beach turned awry when she stepped on a hypodermic needle in the sand Tuesday afternoon.
Jo Ann Viola says she was with four women and three children all enjoying the sand and sea until the kids ran in from the water for lunch - including her friend's 10-year old-daughter.
"All of a sudden she said, 'Ow, I stepped on a sharp shell or something,' and she picks her foot up and there's a hypodermic needle sticking out of her foot, hanging out," Viola says.
Viola tells News 12 she ran to the lifeguard chair for help as the girl's mother pulled out the needle.
"The first thing that went through her mother's mind was, 'Is the needle dirty, what's my daughter going to catch from this?'" she says.
Viola says the girl went to the hospital where she was put on HIV medication as a precaution.
"The lifeguard tells me that that was the third needle found in a day and a half," she says.
Stratford's mayor's office confirmed the needle reports, saying, "They are alarming and we are taking them very seriously. Public safety for families visiting our beaches and areas of recreation is paramount."
The mayor's office says the town has stepped up beach cleaning efforts, alerted the health department and is investigating.
"This poor kid is going to contagious disease doctors now and it’s just crazy," Viola says.
Viola tells News 12 her friend and her friend's daughter are still traumatized.
The mayor's office says beachgoers who find needles or other hazardous material or who see activity that could be connected to this should report it to the police or on-duty lifeguard immediately.
FULL STATEMENT FROM STRATFORD'S MAYOR'S OFFICE:
"We have received these reports - they are alarming and we are taking them very seriously- public safety for families visiting our beaches and areas of recreation is paramount.
In response to this we have stepped up our ordinary beach cleaning procedures by adding public works staff to walk in front of our beach comber to visually spot anything. This will continue throughout the weekend. Beach staff have been instructed that if they find needles they are to report it immediately to be addressed on the spot. We do not have information at this point as to the origin of this needle, as there are currently no associated reports to either lifeguards or police on possible activity related to it, but we are actively investigating.
Anything of this nature that is discovered is also reported immediately to the Town's Health Department. Beachgoers who observe any needles or other hazardous items, or questionable activity associated with hypodermic needle use, are asked to report it immediately to the police or on-duty lifeguard."