Toddler has fatal allergic reaction after being given grilled cheese sandwich at school
Posted November 9, 2017 6:13 p.m. EST
(CNN) — Authorities in New York have closed a preschool in Harlem after a 3-year-old boy died from what family members say was an allergic reaction.
According to a verified GoFundMe page set up by a family friend, Elijah Silvera went into anaphylactic shock on Friday, November 3rd after he was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an adult at the school, "despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy." The toddler was taken to Harlem Hospital where he died, the website said.
The New York City Health Department said in a statement that it had temporarily closed the school, the Center for Family Services, which is a part of the city's universal pre-K program. The department is "continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy," the statement said.
"There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy. We will get to the bottom of what happened here," the department said.
The Center for Family Services did not respond to multiple CNN calls for comment.
"The safety and well-being of children in our EarlyLearn centers is critically important," NYC Adminstration for Children's Services tweeted Thursday. "Following a critical incident at any of our EarlyLearn centers, we place the provider on heightened monitoring or a corrective action status."
A health official, who asked not to be named, told CNN the Center for Family Services has been closed for "failing to follow its written safety plan and failing to adequately supervise a child, in violation of the Health Code."
Officials say the most recent inspection of the school occurred on September 21, 2017. No violations were cited.
"The tragic loss of Elijah Silvera did not have to happen," the child's family said in a statement through their attorney, Nicole Weiser. "The failure to follow long established protocols by both the pre-school and by Harlem Hospital resulted in this monumental loss for the Silvera family."
According to the GoFund Me page, a portion of the funds raised will be donated to "FARE" Food Allergy Research & Education, "the largest nonprofit working on behalf of the food allergy community. "
As of Thursday evening, the page has received $30,510 of its $18k goal.