Family Of Boy Who Choked On Pushpin Files Suit

Tyler Howell, 3, Died After Choking On Pushpin At Montessori School In Oceanside

The family of a toddler who choked on a pushpin and died filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against the boy's North County school.

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On August 8, 2011, 3-year-old Tyler Howell died at the Montessori School of Oceanside after getting a hold of a pushpin at the school. A state investigation determined the boy was not properly supervised.

"Tyler had a love for life that I had never seen in a child," said Tyler's father, Danny Howell. "He was inspiring."

The family said Tyler, who would have turned 4 years old last week, loved to read books and loved his sister.

"She knows Tyler is not there. She cries out his name," said Howell. "We keep his legacy alive by talking about him."

The family is hoping the lawsuit will prevent what happened to their son from happening to another child.

"I don't want pushpins in any school, Pre-K especially," said Howell.

In addition to the lawsuit, the Howells are fighting for laws that would ban pushpins.

"It should be against the law," Howell said.

Howell initially did not blame the school for the incident, but he changed his position after state investigators confirmed the school had multiple violations that may have played a role in Tyler's death.

10News obtained a copy of the state's report that showed a $150 fine and a citation for an environment that showed "a hazard to the health and safety of young children."

"We learned about the details of Tyler's case and realized they were off," said Howell.

David Casey, Howell's attorney, told 10News the lawsuit is not about money.

"There's no amount of money that can compensate for the loss of a child. There's no worse loss than that. The best way to honor him … make sure it doesn't happen to another child," said Casey.

Two months after Tyler died, a 2-year-old in Kentucky choked to death on a pushpin at his day care

Howell said there will be more deaths unless something is done.

"We can't bring Tyler back, but we can help save the life of another child; that's our goal," said Howell.

The lawsuit also shows the family may also go after the manufacturer of the pushpins.

10News examined several different brands of pushpins and found no child warnings on any of the boxes.

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