Thomas Silvera says the Elijah-Alavi Foundation was founded in my son’s memory to ensure that all infants and children with severe food allergies and asthma has a safe space to learn and socialize in daycare centers and school.
Janice Molnar, deputy commissioner, New York State office of child and family services says what it means fundamentally is adding a new layer of health and safety and a reassurance for parents that their children will be safe. She says as it happens many children and their parents don’t even know they have an allergy; childcare is a new experience, they are exposed to new foods and activities and so it might be something sudden that comes up.
What this policy does is it requires all licensed and registered child daycare program in New York State to develop a healthcare plan that includes how to prevent known allergens but also how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction and then what to do about it.
On November 23, 2017 Thomas’ son Elijah was at his childcare center and they fed him a food that contained an allergen that caused him to go into anaphylactic shock. Soon after that, Thomas says, even in our grief my wife and I decided to work tirelessly with our local officials, our assemblyman, Hal Taylor and now lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin to put together a piece of legislation that will provide that added protection and guidance for childcare centers throughout New York State.
Janice says it’s a real testimony to the Silvera family to not just grieve, but out of that be energized to make a difference, so lives of other children in the future can be saved. It’s a lot of kids. Janice says it’s close to a half a million in New York State that this could potentially influence, childcare centers, home-based centers, school-aged childcare; it covers the gambit. She says there has to be a plan and to accompany that plan, we require training, training on recognizing the signs and symptoms, and what to do about it. It is a free online training to childcare providers. It is about a 30-minute training and it gives them the information they need, the tools they need to be ready to intervene in the case of an emergency.
Janice says they are partnering with Health First to make two, non-patient specific epinephrine auto injectors available to every one of those 14,000 programs that take the training so that they have those epinephrine devices on hand, know how to use them and will be comfortable and confident to use them in the case of an emergency.
For more information go to ocfs.ny.gov