Nothing could be scarier than dropping off your child at daycare only to never see them alive again. Such was the case with 3-year-old Elijah Silvera in New York City. After his mother dropped him off and entrusted him to someone else’s care, he was fed a grilled cheese sandwich despite having a known dairy allergy. He quickly went into anaphylaxis. The daycare sitter didn’t call 9-1-1 or inform his mother of the situation and Elijah died shortly thereafter.
This tragedy could have been avoided. That’s why New York state passed what’s known as “Elijah’s Law,” or S.218B/A.6971B, requiring all daycare centers and providers to follow the proper guidelines for preventing and responding to food allergy anaphylaxis.
But more work needs to be done. We’ve been following the story of the Elijah-Alavi Foundation since they began their work back in 2017. They have just launched an exciting new fundraising campaign to push for the passage of childhood food allergy laws to make sure no parent has to endure this nightmare ever again. Learn more about their cause and consider donating today.
Food Allergies in the U.S.
Food allergies remain prevalent across the U.S. For many people, being allergic to certain types of food isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a matter of life and death. Ingesting something that the body cannot tolerate can lead to a range of physical reactions, including severe digestive problems, hives and swollen airways, and the deadly condition known as anaphylaxis. This can occur within seconds of exposure to the allergen, leading to nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, shock and even death if the patient doesn’t receive treatment right away.
Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans, including 5.6 million children, have food allergies. That means around one in every 13 children has a food allergy whether they realize it or not. If we put this math into action, that amounts to roughly two in every classroom. Furthermore, about 40% of children with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.
Giving Parents Peace of Mind
Managing a food allergy can feel like a full-time job for some individuals, especially if they are taking care of a child that doesn’t understand their condition. Every day can feel like a struggle for some parents as they shield their children from certain foods and rely on others. Many parents will create strict routines for their children to minimize the potential risks. Every playdate, field trip, and school lunch can feel like a potential death trap.
Before dropping their kids off at school or daycare, parents will go to great lengths to make sure everyone is aware of their child’s condition, including proper diet and feeding practices, how to use treatment and medication, and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Elijah’s Law is designed to help parents with this enormous task. Instead of having them go it alone, the law requires child care providers to comply with the latest guidelines for preventing and responding to food allergy anaphylaxis. Parents still need to make sure their kids are in good hands, but now they can enjoy some peace of mind knowing that the sitter has been trained in these matters.
The Elijah-Alavi Foundation’s mission is to “encourage nation-wide diverse, social, and equitable resources to make sure that all children in every school and beyond in every neighborhood regardless of socioeconomic conditions, culture, or class, are safe when their parents drop them off.”
The new Forty-Five 4/5 Giving Campaign will run for 45 days and encourages donors to give amounts ranging from $4, $5, and $45 to $450 and even $4500, if you’re feeling generous. The money will be used to launch PSA initiatives in other states, so we can get more child food allergy laws in the books. “We have so much more to offer you all and with a small gift to the 4/5 campaign can provide free food allergy accrediting training and resources to schools in all communities with our main focus for the underserved communities,” Elijah’s father, Thomas, explains.
The story of Elijah Silvera ultimately led to the passage of Elijah’s Law, and the organizers of this campaign hope to influence the passing of similar laws in every state in the country. Spread the word and consider donating today!