Toddler rushed to hospital after picking up syringe in Civic Hospital park

Two children sit on top of the small play structure
The used syringes were found on the small play structure at Princess Margriet Park on Feb. 10. Photo by Charlie Senack.

By Charlie Senack 

A two-year-old girl was rushed to CHEO in mid-February after putting a used syringe in her mouth at Princess Margriet Park. 

According to the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association, needles have been found in various areas of the community greenspace. 

“Used drug paraphernalia and needles have been discovered at Princess Margriet Park (aka Fairmont Park) on the smaller play structure,” the group wrote on Facebook. “We are also hearing of previous sightings of similar items near the dog area in the park.” 

The latest incident took place on Feb. 10, when first responders were called to the park at around 11:30 a.m. The girl was found with an uncapped syringe in her mouth, according to Ottawa Paramedics, with a tourniquet and crumpled up aluminum foil found nearby. She was listed in stable condition. 

The toddler’s trip to the hospital was a precaution, and did not require Naloxone, a life-saving drug that reverses an opioid overdose. 

While this incident turned out not to be fatal, an alert was issued just a week prior stating that at least 22 people in Ottawa died from an opioid overdose in January of this year. 

Children play hockey on an outdoor rink on a sunny day.
Children play hockey on the rink at Princess Margriet Park in late February 2024. Photo by Charlie Senack.

Kitchissippi ward had the third highest calls about needles in 2023, according to Ottawa’s 311 line, based out of 24 municipal wards. 

Ottawa Public Health and other health agencies have been working hard to collect used needles to ensure they don’t end up on city streets. Between 2018 and 2022, 7.5 million needles were collected, mostly through drop boxes. The closest locations to Princess Margaret Park include the Civic Hospital and Causeway Work Centre, both located within a 15-minute walk. 

On the Civic Hospital Community Association Facebook page, nearby residents shared their concerns. 

“It’s not surprising, but it’s scary,” wrote Sherry Milligan. “I guess it’s just a reminder for us to check the play structures before our children get on them. Sad that we have to do this.”

Others wrote they have discovered used needles littered in other parts of the community. 

“I see needles almost every day under the bridge on Parkdale,” said Dana Nachshon “[I also] observed [syringes] near the tennis court on Holland, adjacent to the park.”

Anyone who finds discarded needles in public areas are asked not to pick them up but instead call 311 so the reports can be tracked. 

Leave a comment