Toddler’s Parents to File Wrongful Death Lawsuit

CDSS found the school could have prevented the 3-year-old's death

By Sarah Grieco
|  Thursday, Jan 5, 2012  |  Updated 10:21 PM PDT
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Boy Fatally Chokes in Preschool Tragedy

Courtesy of Aja Howell

Photo shows toddler,Tyler Howell, with his parents Aja and Danny Howell. Tyler choked on a pushpin at the Montessori School of Oceanside on Aug. 8, according to officials.

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Parents Take Oceanside School to Court

Parents of a 3-year-old child who fatally choked are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the toddler's school.

Boy Fatally Chokes in Preschool Tragedy

Tyler Howell, 3, choked to death Monday on a pushpin at an Oceanside preschool. The boy's mother, Aja Howell, called the tragedy an accident Wednesday and said she doesn't place any fault on the school.
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Parents of a 3-year-old child who fatally choked filied a wrongful death lawsuit against the toddler’s school.

Tyler Howell died after swallowing a pushpin at the Montessori School of Oceanside on Aug. 8. Despite life-saving efforts, the boy died in the hospital not long after rescuers arrived, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s report.

After the incident, the California Department of Social Services launched an investigation and found the school could have prevented the toddler’s death.

The investigation found that the school violated three rules which they said played a role in the boy’s death: the school violated care and supervisory rules, it failed to keep supplies in a storage space not used for other purposes and it failed to provide safe accommodations for students.

The CDSS launched the routine investigation shortly after the boy's death. The school had prior violations, but a CDSS spokesperson said the violations were not uncommon among schools.  After a state investigation the school received three citations.

Howell’s mother, Aja, told NBC San Diego in August that she doesn’t blame the school for her son’s death, calling it an accident.

However, the family is now alleging that Tyler died as a direct result of negligence and carelessness on the part of the preschool.

“Pushpins are a well-known hazard for children, and should under no circumstances be accessible to toddlers,” the Howell lawyer said in a release. “The Howell family hopes that, ultimately, this litigation will lead to push pins being banned in preschools.”

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