Parents to sue preschool over toddler's death - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Parents to sue preschool over toddler's death

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The parents of a toddler who died at a Montessori school in Oceanside are considering suing.

Three-year-old Tyler Howell went into the bathroom alone, came out gasping for air and died shortly after being rushed to the hospital. Turns out he swallowed a pushpin.

"There's nothing that can be done to bring Tyler back, but one thing the family is hoping as a result of their efforts that push pins can be banned at all preschools," Howell family attorney David Casey said.

When it first happened back in August, Tyler's parents didn't blame the Montessori School of Oceanside for what happened there.

"We had him at that school for a reason and they challenged and excelled him and he really loved it there," father Danny Howell said.

In fact, they continued to bring Tyler's younger sister. But two months later, things have changed.

"It is our recommendation that they do move forward in a legal action. We think that Tyler was exposed to a completely needless danger in this situation," Casey said.

According to a recently released report from the Department of Social Services, the school violated three rules that played a key role in Tyler's death.

"One is they left Tyler unsupervised. He went into a bathroom by himself," Casey said.

The preschool was also cited for not keeping supplies in a storage space, and failing to provide safe accommodations.

"You should never have a push pin around 3- or 4-year-old children. Children put things in their mouths. Pushpins are often colored, they look like candies," Casey said.

The medical examiner confirmed Tyler died from airway obstruction by a push pin. His family's attorney says a lawsuit will be filed within 30 days, seeking unspecified monetary damages.

"It's a known danger. They should not be in preschools. They should be banned, and that's what the family is hoping will come out of this," Casey said.

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