The authors present three cases of death in children aged 4, 9, and 10 years, respectively, that were first thought to be caused by herbal or other poisonings but at autopsy were found to be caused by airway obstruction from aspiration of ballpoint pen parts. Aspiration of a foreign body is a leading cause of accidental death in children, but the circumstances in these cases were unique. In the first case, a 4-year-old child died shortly after a visit to a traditional healer. The child's mother blamed him for the death and fatally assaulted him. The second case was a 9-year-old who died at school. Case 3 was a 10-year-old who collapsed while playing with a ballpoint pen in her mouth. In the latter two cases, the relatives alleged poisoning. At autopsy, there was no evidence of trauma, disease, or poisoning in all three cases. Ballpoint pen parts were present in the larynx, carina, and left main bronchus, respectively. Features of "asphyxial" death were present, and included subconjunctival hemorrhages, subendocardial hemorrhages, and congestion of the face and internal organs. These deaths are preventable by education of children, parents, and teachers. Ballpoint pen manufacturers should also modify the design of these pens to improve their safety.