Extends Life Saving Protections Currently in Place for Schools to All Early Child Care Programs
Cuomo: “As a father, I know there is no greater fear than something happening to your child – especially when you entrust them to someone else’s care. I’m proud to sign this measure that will give parents peace of mind and will help ensure daycare workers receive the right training to respond to emergencies and prevent tragedies.”
September 12, 2019
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.218B/A.6971B) requiring all child daycare programs in New York to follow guidelines for preventing and responding to food allergy anaphylaxis. Called “Elijah’s Law,” the new law is named after 3-year-old Elijah Silvera from New York City who was given a grilled cheese sandwich while at daycare despite having a known severe dairy allergy. After Elijah went into anaphylaxis his mother was not told what he had eaten and 911 was not called. Elijah died in November 2017.
“As a father, I know there is no greater fear than something happening to your child – especially when you entrust them to someone else’s care,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’m proud to sign this measure that will give parents peace of mind and will help ensure daycare workers receive the right training to respond to emergencies and prevent tragedies. My heart goes out to Elijah’s family, who suffered an unspeakable loss and had the perseverance to help protect other children.”
Senator Brian Benjamin said, “Elijah Silvera was just three-years-old when he was fed a cheese sandwich at a daycare center that had been dutifully notified of his allergy to dairy. I was heartbroken when his family told me that he died of the resulting anaphylactic shock, and I promised to join Assembly Member Al Taylor in ensuring this did not happen to another child and family in New York. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for signing this bill, which requires that there be a plan in place to prevent avoidable tragedies like Elijah’s.”
Assembly Member Al Taylor said, “In the United States on average there are two children in every classroom living with a severe food allergy. No family should live in fear that their child will suffer an allergic attack with no one on hand capable of treating it. Elijah’s Law will improve the safety of all children by guaranteeing that youth in every learning environment are better cared for and that educational centers have the training and resources necessary to prevent and treat anaphylaxis. I am extremely grateful to the Governor, my colleagues, and especially to the Silvera family and the Elijah’s Echo Foundation for helping this bill get signed into law. With Elijah’s Law we will ensure no other family in New York ever has to endure such a tragedy.”
Anaphylactic policy for food allergies is already in place for New York school districts. The bill mandates that similar guidelines and procedures are followed by child daycare programs for the prevention of and emergency response to anaphylaxis. The guidelines will be developed by the New York State Department of Health Commissioner in consultation with pediatric physicians and allergy specialists and will include staff training courses, preventative measures to reduce children’s risk of exposure, and emergency response protocols.
The bill would also require the Health Commissioner to develop informational materials detailing anaphylactic policies to be distributed to child daycare centers, local school boards of education, charter schools, and boards of cooperative educational services, and to make the materials available on the DOH website.
Schools and child daycare providers would be required to send a notification to parents or guardians to make them aware of their anaphylactic policies.