SAN DIEGO - It was supposed to be a fun day at the beach for the Allen family, but it quickly turned scary when their 5-year-old came running and crying.
"I saw my daughter coming up to me with a hypodermic needle … in her hand, tears streaming down her cheek, on the other hand, a little trickle of blood on her finger," said Elliot Allen, who added he is shocked and angry that something like that could happen to his daughter Lucie.
He and the family rushed her to the lifeguard's station and then to the hospital. Doctors say Lucie will have to be monitored for some time to see whether she caught anything from the dirty syringe.
"They want to play on the beach even now … but that's not going to happen anymore and that's sad because that's one of the great things about San Diego is the beach," said Allen.
It is not the first time something like this has happened. In August of last year, Ben Murphey contacted 10News after his 5-year-old son was injured by a hypodermic needle at the same beach.
"I had no idea what could happen to him," Murphey told 10News. "All I thought was, you know, that he's going to get hepatitis or HIV... it was very, very scary... I was petrified."
10News contacted the city of San Diego's Parks and Recreation Department. Daniel Daneri is the district manager of the Shoreline Parks and Mechanized Beach Maintenance department. He says although the beaches are cleaned weekly using mechanized sifters and rakes, with so many visitors, it is difficult to catch everything.
Meanwhile, the Allen family has contacted the city to do more and the Surfrider Foundation so the Allens can become more involved in cleaning our beaches. They also say they hope the public is aware of the dangers that could be lurking in the sand.
"This particular beach seems to, at least now, have a history of children getting stuck with needles ... I would think that would be reason enough to maybe consider cleaning it up more often than other beaches," said Allen.