Toddler’s pushpin accident results in state’s investigation

by Michael Pines

Accident & Injury Prevention Expert

The state of California is investigating the tragic death of a 3-year-old boy that occurred as a result of an ingested thumbtack, according to the Los Angeles Times. Because the injury accident took place at the Montessori School of Oceanside, officials at the California Department of Social Services were forced to launch an investigation against the school shortly after the boy’s accident was reported.

The accident was brought to the attention of school supervisors when the boy was caught gasping for air, then inexplicably. Moments later, he was transported to the hospital for medical care where doctors discovered the pushpin in the boy’s system, though reports do not specify if it was a choking accident or an internal injury

Medical examiners deemed the death an accident in their official reports, but the California Department of Social Services is required by law to investigate the accident since it occurred at a licensed child care facility, according to a spokesperson at CDSS. While the childcare facility was cited for non-compliance of safety guidelines and regulations in the past, there is no word on CDSS findings in regard to the boy’s accidental death at this time.

As parents, stories like these are alarming and tragic, but there are steps you can take today to help put an end to needless accidents tomorrow, starting with your child’s school first.

Tips to keep your child safe at school

children's injury san diego attorney michael pinesIn honor of Back to School Safety Month, consider the following tips to make sure your child is kept safe on campus. While it’s nearly impossible to oversee every one of your child’s daily activities at school, you and your child’s school can take a proactive approach to making sure the environment is safe and free from potentially hazardous items.

Ask your child’s teacher or principal to:

Secure the classroom

It takes proactive parents to get out there and ask teachers about how the classroom is secured. It’s completely acceptable to set up a time with your child’s teacher to examine the space and ask if it is in compliance with safety guidelines. Be sure that common sense safety is applied: heavy bookcases are secured, sharp objects are locked away, and furniture is arranged so a clear exit is possible.

Post safety rules

Many children learn common sense rules like “no running with scissors,” but encourage your child’s teacher to come up with other less-common safety rules like “no playing with unapproved toys.” Your child’s teacher should also have or to create an emergency action plan – and better yet, volunteer your time to make it happen.

Review safety expectations with students

It is important that teachers educate children on the classroom policies – not only with homework and recess, but with safety expectations as well.  Expectations should be clear, and consequences should be in place for children who disobey the safety rules.

Keep up on the latest safety tips by joining in the conversation on Facebook, or log onto for more tips and information on accident prevention advice.

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Posted by Social Media Staff on Aug 22, 2011. Filed under Columns, Michael Pines, Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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