On November 3, 3-year-old Elijah Silvera died after his New York City pre-school fed him grilled cheese for lunch. Elijah suffered a severe dairy allergy and went into anaphylactic shock as doctors attempted to control his allergic reaction. His parents say his educators were well-informed of their child’s allergy and should not have fed him the grilled cheese.
“He 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,” a GoFundMe page created by Elijah’s parents reports. “Elijah went into anaphylactic shock and was taken to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital, where, tragically, they were unable to save him.”
The page was created to raise money to honor Elijah’s memory and raise money to hold a funeral, organize a memorial, and feed his family during this trying time.
A new student, Elijah had just started school at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem. The school shut down after Elijah’s death, and the Department of Health says they are “continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy.”
According to a relative who spoke with CBS, Elijah was “just a light — if you see him, he’s just a bright light.”
“Elijah’s death was completely preventable,” his parents write on the GoFundMe page. “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.”
The first step is to be more informed. Here are the most common food allergies and some tips for how to avoid them