Toddler Dies After Eating Grilled Cheese Sandwich At School

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Anyone can be allergic to any types of food. Some are allergic to chicken, eggs, and while others suffer from an allergic reaction to dairy and other foods. But for this 3-year-old boy, he sadly died after having an allergic reaction to the grilled cheese sandwich that he ate at school.

Elijah Silvera, 3, was attending preschool in Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem. This is a program overseen by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and the Health Department. The site also offers a Universal pre-K program which is a part of Mayor de Blasio’s effort to provide free prekindergarten to all New York City 4-year-olds.

According to the Health Department, it had closed the school following this incident for inadequate supervision of a child and also for failing to follow its own written safety plan.

According to the boys’ family, the toddler was allergic to dairy. But at school, he had been given a grilled cheese sandwich.

Ruben Porras, a cousin of Elijah’s father, said that the school did not call an ambulance but instead, called the boy’s mother. She was then the one who took Elijah to the hospital. A spokesman for the Fire Department explained that during that day of the tragic incident, no F.D.N.Y. ambulances were called to the pre-K centre.

Christopher R. Miller, the spokesman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said: “There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will get to the bottom of what happened here. In the meantime, we closed the Center for Family Services and are continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy.”

He added that there was a safety plan or Elijah at the Center because of his severe reactions to dairy products. Miller declined to comment on whether or not there was an EpiPen on site that could have possibly saved the boys life by treating the symptoms. Miller only cited that ongoing investigation is in place.

Lorelei A. Vargas, a deputy commissioner at the Administration for Children’s Services, visited the preschool. Mr Vargas said, “There were no red flags at the centre… We do believe that this was an isolated event.”

A GoFundMe page set up by a family friend. It stated that on November 3rd, Elijah “was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an adult at the pre-K, despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy. Elijah went into anaphylactic shock and was taken to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital, where, tragically, they were unable to save him.”

The GoFundMe page also explained that in addition to memorial expenses, the family was raising money for counselling for Elijah’s brother, 5-year-old Sebastian as well as to pay for a second, independent autopsy because “it is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-K and the hospital itself… We dread the upcoming holiday season without our little boy. We are lost.”

When a parent drops off their child at a daycare centre or at school, they expect for the school staff to attend to their kids’ needs. And simple mistakes such as this was overlooked and sadly, it caused the boys’ untimely death.

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