NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Parents of kids with food allergies are celebrating the passage of a lifesaving bill in New York.
“Elijah’s Law” is named after Elijah Silvera, a little boy who died from a severe dairy allergy.
Inside the kitchen of Felicia DeVita’s house is a picture of Elijah. Her son has severe food allergies, much like Elijah, and she’s been fighting for the cause.
“That’s how I became involved. It hit home. It was very parallel. They were around the same age, and it was around the same time,” DeVita told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Devita’s son is allergic to nuts and nearly died of anaphylactic shock back in 2017. It was around the same time 3-year-old Elijah died at his daycare.
School personnel had given the child a grilled cheese sandwich, even though they allegedly knew he was allergic.
Advocates have been pushing for better training in daycares ever since.
“It should have been in place. We’re waiting for children to die to do something,” DeVita said.
“Elijah’s Law” aims to protect children with severe allergies by improving education and knowledge that nurse Susan Kelly says schools lack.
Kelly’s daughter has severe allergies.
“People need to know that, first off, if someone says, ‘I have a food allergy,’ take it seriously. It’s not just peanuts. It’s not just tree nuts. They can be anaphylactic, as in Elijah’s case, to dairy,” she said.
Under “Elijah’s Law,” daycare workers have to be trained on how to use an EpiPen but also to recognize signs of anaphylactic shock and what foods can cause allergic reactions.
“People don’t realize that children and adults are dying from food allergies, and it’s a serious condition and needs to be treated as so,” DeVita said.
Now that it’s passed, “Elijah’s Law” is waiting for a signature from the governor. Parents are confident it will save lives.