Israeli Toddler Dies in Preschool After Choking on Sand

Police investigating possible negligence of employees at Kiryat Gat preschool

FILE PHOTO: Sandbox in Israeli preschool
Ilan Assayag

A 3-year-old child died on Sunday after choking on sand while playing with friends at a preschool in the southern town of Kiryat Gat.

The child was taken in critical condition to Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon, where doctors confirmed his death.

The police said that four employees of the preschool were taken for questioning and detained for five days. Police are investigating whether negligence was involved.

“I received a phone call from the preschool teacher, who said that one of the children who had been playing in the sandbox was feeling unwell, and that he had gotten sand into his mouth,” said Haim Matzliach, a paramedic with the Hatzalah organization. The child was unconscious by the time he arrived, he said.

By the time paramedics from Magen David Adom arrived, the child was not breathing and had no pulse. The paramedics tried to revive him while removing sand from his mouth, they said.

In February, three children died at daycare centers around the country. An 8-month-old child died at a daycare center in Tel Aviv in a case being investigated by police. In Pardes Hannah, a 4-month-old was found unconscious in his bed and later died. In Tira, a 9-month-old also died at daycare center that month.