New illustrated book to encourage children to ‘Be Sharps Smart’

Published: 07 Sep 2017 10:28am

7 September 2017

Needles the Echidna and his friends are on a mission to educate children about what to do if they find needles or other sharp objects in public places in an innovative initiative by Wagga Wagga City Council.

Their adventures are being told in a new illustrated book that will be distributed to schools, preschools, day care centres and across the Wagga Wagga Local Government Area and available at 18 libraries across the region.

Council’s Environmental Health Coordinator Sharomi Dayanand came up with the idea after hearing about a number of incidences relating to the incorrect disposal of sharps in the community.

“Children can be vulnerable to sharps because they are often playing on the ground in public spaces such as parks and playgrounds,” she said.

“When I couldn’t find sufficient information aimed at educating children in sharps awareness I pitched the idea of a children’s book to the NSW Ministry of Health, which supported and partly funded the project.

“In producing this illustrated book I’m hoping to open up a conversation with children and the broader community to teach them about the dangers of sharps, how to identify them and what to do if they come across them.”

Mrs Dayanand and Council staff will also visit schools in Council’s bright yellow education truck Charlie over the coming weeks to read the book and discuss the messages with students.

If children find a sharp object, they should take the following steps:

  • Leave it where it is and notify an adult straight away
  • Ask the adult to call their local Council or the NSW Needle Clean-Up Hotline on 1800 633 353. A trained person will then come and collect the object

More information about how to dispose of sharps and a map of sharps drop-off points is on Council's website.