A three-year-old boy in New York died last week after someone at his school allegedly fed him a grilled cheese sandwich. He had a severe dairy allergy, and his parents say the school knew about it.
According to The Daily Meal, three-year-old Elijah Silvera had just started preschool at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem. His family says he had a severe dairy allergy, and that was on record with the school. On November 3, however, someone at the school allegedly gave him a grilled cheese sandwich. He went into anaphylactic shock at the preschool, and he was taken to the pediatric ER at the nearby Harlem Hospital. Tragically, they were unable to save him.
The preschool served 40 students, and it closed yesterday. The Department of Health says it is “continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy.”
His mother drove him to the hospital, not an ambulance.
According to WPIX, the school allegedly called Elijah’s mother when it happened. It’s not clear why they called her and not an ambulance, but she rushed her son the 10 blocks to the hospital.
A GoFundMe account set up for Elijah’s family is collecting donations for funeral expenses and financial support for his parents to take time off work and care for their surviving, devastated five-year-old son, Sebastian. The family also wants to use the funds to pay for a second autopsy.
“At this moment, it is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-k and the hospital itself,” the family explained. “There are protocols that both the hospital and preschool must follow. We want to find out exactly what caused Elijah’s death and that will mean sorting out exactly where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital. Having a third party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture. We just want justice for Elijah.”
Food allergies are common, and they are very serious.
The family is understandably heartbroken and furious. When we leave our children with childcare professionals, we are entrusting them to care for their health and safety. Elijah’s family says the school knew about his dairy allergy, and there’s no excuse for this tragedy.
“Elijah’s death was completely preventable,” his family wrote. “5.9 million children under the age of 18 suffer from food allergies in the United States. That’s 1 in 13 children, which works out to roughly two children with allergies inside of every U.S. classroom. WE CAN AND MUST DO MORE TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM LIFE THREATENING ALLERGIC REACTIONS IN U.S. SCHOOLS.”
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(Photo: GoFundMe / Saying Goodbye to Elijah)