Almost 6 million children children suffer with food allergies in the U.S. which means about 1 in every 13 children in a classroom has a food allergy.
Teachers and childcare workers have to be trained to check ingredients on every snack and food item brought into their classroom so it doesn’t pose a threat to children. In some schools the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich has been banned.
With so much awareness surrounding food allergies, tragic cases where children die eating food they’re allergic to is even more shocking. When it happens in a school or child care center it’s unfathomable.
On November 3, 2017, the parents of 3-year-old Elijah Silvera received a call from staff that were caring for him with news that no parent should have to hear.
It was documented and known that Elijah was allergic to dairy. Yet, a supervising adult at the preschool he attended in Harlem, New York, gave him a grilled cheese sandwich.
It wasn’t long after he ate the sandwich that he started showing very worrying side effects. Staff then called his mother who rushed him to hospital.
Elijah went into anaphylactic shock and died at the emergency room.
The center where Elijah attended was shut down and an investigation carried out.
Meanwhile, his parents had to deal with the shock and sadness of losing their son and having to explain why he was gone to their 5-year-old son Sebastian.
On a GoFundMe page set up to help with the costs of this tragedy his family said: “Elijah’s brother Sebastian asked us how we could go see his baby brother in Heaven, ‘Can we ride a rocket ship to reach to him?’ he asked, and our hearts broke all over again.”
The page also stated that Elijah’s parents had provided the preschool with all the proper medications and paperwork surrounding his food concerns and needs. Staff knew that he had a severe allergy to dairy.
Now, the family is fighting on Elijah’s behalf, and say they are finding hope in “Focusing on advocacy for other children like Elijah,” and helping to ensure that no family has to go through the pain they did.
Find out more about this heartbreaking story in the clip below.
Elijah’s death was so easily preventable and the more we talk about food allergies the more we can remind others to always be mindful of the food they are giving youngsters.
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