How local daycare centers avoid fatal mistakes after a 3-year-old Harlem boy dies from food allergy

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 News) - A 3-year-old boy with a dairy allergy died in a New York City daycare earlier this month, after eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

According to the boy's family, he was given the sandwich despite the school knowing he had the severe allergy.

The death of Elijah Silvera has daycare centers and parents wondering what the protocols are involving food allergies. 

"We hope that when you put your child in someone else's hands, they went to school for this stuff, they've been doing this for years, that they'd be able to provide the best healthy, experience, and education, to your child," one parent, Jeremy Purifoy, said. 

Purifoy sent his 3-year-old daughter to daycare for the first time this year. 

This responsibility does not go unnoticed at Happy House Nursery in Elmira. 

"I tell parents, I try to think of your child as my child when they're in our care," Teri Hinman, owner and director of Happy House Nursery, said. "I try to take care of them, like I'd want my child to be taken care of, especially when it comes to medical, and the allergies that are going around now, it's important," Hinman said. 

This year the nursery does not have any food allergies, but the school has had to make their own adjustments in the past. 

"Every teacher has a list of every homeroom's allergies, so they know coming into the room," Hinman says. "One year we had so many nut and peanut allergies that we made the whole school a nut free zone."

The New York State Office of Children and Family Services require a medical form filled out by the child's physical before they can attend.

"If there is an allergy that requires an EpiPen, they have to fill out an individual health care plan, the parent provides an EpiPen, and they train us on what to look for in their specific child." 

There has not been an incident yet, but Hinman says there are regulations to follow by. 

"The first step is to monitor the child, and see if they are going into an allergic reaction that requires an EpiPen, you use the EpiPen, you call 911, and then the parent," Hinman said. "It's your child's safety, we definitely want to make sure we are doing everything we can together to keep your child safe." 


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