Talking to your kids about needles may be uncomfortable, but it is important for children to know what to do if they find a needle or other sharp objects on the ground.
Talking about needles can be done in an age-appropriate manner. For example, for younger children, having this conversation does not need to include talking about drugs and addiction, but older children could be taught about the dangers of injection drug use.
Remind your children that there are many things on the ground that can harm them, and teach them to not touch anything they find on the ground that does not belong to them.
Tips for Talking to your Children:
Key messages for younger children should include:
Older children can be taught about the steps to safe needle pick-up if they are comfortable handling a needle:
- Needles are dangerous
- If you find a needle, “Don’t Touch”
- Ask a teacher or another grown-up you trust right away for help
- If you touch a needle, you could get hurt or sick
- Keep your friends away from the needle on the ground
- Don’t Touch the sharp end of the needle
- If possible, use gloves and tongs to pick up the needle
- Never put the cap back on the needle
- Place the needle, point end first, in a hard-sided plastic container and tightly seal
- Give sealed container to an adult
- Never put needles down the toilet, in drains, or in the garbage
If older children are uncomfortable or unsure about picking up a needle, remind them that they can always ask an adult for help when a needle is found.
Injuries from needles can be prevented by educating children about the dangers of handling needles. To prevent them from getting hurt, children should be taught these rules at an early age.
If you would like more information about talking to your kids about needles, call your local Northwestern Health Unit office.