8-Year-Old Dies After Playground Accident

The parents of an 8-year-old boy, Dallin Cunningham, have filed a lawsuit against the Tooele County School District in Utah, following the tragic death of their son. The incident occurred on February 6, 2023, when Dallin was playing on a playground at Rose Springs Elementary School in Stansbury Park, Utah, located approximately 30 miles from Salt Lake City.

The lawsuit alleges that Dallin was using a spiral slide during recess when he unexpectedly “flew off”, falling approximately 7 feet onto a hard, frozen surface below. The legal document further states that the accident happened no later than 10:07 a.m., but the school staff did not contact emergency services until 10 minutes later.

The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office reported that school staff performed CPR on Dallin until the arrival of an ambulance. Despite being rushed to the hospital, Dallin succumbed to his injuries the following day, with the cause of death being blunt-force trauma to the head.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys representing Dallin’s parents, Timothy and Kathryn Cunningham, accuses the school district of negligence and wrongful death. It argues that the district is responsible for damages due to the playground’s unsafe conditions.

The suit alleges that the slide lacked adequate safety barriers and was excessively steep and fast. It also claims that the ground beneath the slide was not sufficiently soft to cushion a fall. The lawsuit argues that the playground did not have enough mulch, which is typically used as a buffer to absorb the impact of a fall. The family’s attorneys argue that the standard for playground mulch is 12 inches, which compresses to a minimum of 9 inches. However, the lawsuit alleges that there was only an inch of mulch covering the surface underneath the slide.

Peter Mifflin, the attorney representing the Cunningham family, stated in an interview with local Fox affiliate KSTU that the family is still deeply grieving. Mifflin also mentioned that the Utah Attorney General would respond to the lawsuit on behalf of the school district. He emphasized that the main issue was the poorly maintained playground surface, which was as hard as rock.

The school district has since removed the slide but declined to comment on the lawsuit due to ongoing litigation. Dallin, remembered in his obituary as a loving son and brother who enjoyed playing cards, video games, board games, and puzzles, is deeply missed by his family.