Child’s Fatal Allergic Reaction Shuts Harlem Pre-School

The city Health Department has shut down a Harlem pre-school after a 3-year-old student with food allergies died from a reaction to a grilled-cheese sandwich, a department spokesman confirmed with Patch.

Elijah Silvera, 3, died on Nov. 3 after an adult at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services in Harlem gave him the sandwich “despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy,” according to a GoFundMe campaign  raising money for the boy’s family.

Silvera died after being taken to the pediatric emergency room at Harlem Hospital in anaphylactic shock, according to the campaign.

“Elijah leaves behind his heartbroken mother, Dina, father, Thomas, and his 5-year-old brother Sebastian, as well as dozens of friends and family members who all mourn the loss of his precious young life,” wrote the organizers of the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe campaign, which was set up by two close family members, has raised $23,321 for Silvera’s family as of this writing.

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The city Health Department closed the Harlem pre-school, located on the corner of Lenox Avenue and East 146th Street, in order to investigate Silvera’s death, department spokesman Christopher Miller told Patch.

The school failed to follow its written safety plan and failed to adequately supervise Silvera, the spokesman 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,” Miller said in a statement. “In the meantime, we closed the Center for Family Services and continuing to aggressively investigate what happened and whether the facility could have done something differently to prevent this tragedy.”

The city Administration for Children’s Services will help parents at the pre-school find an alternative program for their children to attend.

Photo courtesy of GoFundMe

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