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09th Nov 2017

Toddler with dairy allergy dies after being fed cheese sandwich

The preschool where the incident occurred has been closed.

Anna O'Rourke

A little boy with a severe dairy allergy has died after being given a toasted cheese sandwich at preschool.

The family of three-year-old Elijah Silvera say he was fed the sandwich last Friday even though the staff at the preschool in Harlem, New York knew of his strict dietary requirements.

He went into anaphylactic shock shortly after eating it and was taken to hospital where he passed away.

The toddler had just started at the preschool, run by a Family Services Centre, this autumn.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has shut down the school indefinitely and is “continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy”, it said in a statement.

The Family Services Centre is also conducting its own investigation.

Elijah left behind his mum Dina, dad Thomas and his 5-year-old brother Sebastian.

“He was just a light — if you see him, he’s just a bright light,” Ruben Porras, a relative of Elijah’s, told CBS.

“He’s one of those kids that… he was one of those kids that when you walk in the room and saw him you just light up.”

“Our family is only beginning the long and painful process of adjusting to a world that does not include Elijah in it,” the family said in a statement on its GoFundMe page.

“It is an unimaginable time for everyone who loved Elijah, in particular for his brother Sebastian, who struggles to understand that his brother is truly gone.

“We dread the upcoming holiday season without our little boy. We are lost.”

The GoFundMe page has already collected over $19,000 in donations to help with funeral costs and for an independent autopsy into the little boy’s death.