The city shut down a Harlem pre-K Wednesday after the death of a toddler with a dairy allergy — who his family says was fed a grilled cheese sandwich.
Little Elijah Silvera, 3, died Nov. 3, when he ate the sandwich at the Seventh Avenue Center for Family Services, “despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy,” the tot’s family said on a GoFundMe page.
Elijah went into anaphylactic shock. Doctors at the Harlem Hospital pediatric emergency room couldn’t save him, his family said.
On Wednesday, the city Health Department ordered the pre-K shuttered for failing to follow its written safety plan and failing to adequately supervise a child.
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“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children and we are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” said Health Department spokesman Christopher Miller.
“We will get to the bottom of what happened here. In the meantime, we’re closing 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 Silvera family set up the GoFundMe page, which has raised nearly $18,500, in part to pay for an independent autopsy.
“At this moment, it is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-K and the hospital itself,” the page reads.
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Elijah’s parents and 5-year-old brother are still struggling to come to terms with his death, a friend wrote on behalf of the family on the crowdfunding web page.
“Elijah leaves behind his heartbroken mother, Dina, father, Thomas, and his 5-year-old brother Sebastian,” the page reads.
“We dread the upcoming holiday season without our little boy. We are lost.”
The Lenox Ave. school runs universal pre-K and is an Administration for Children’s Services EarlyLearn programs, and the agency plans to send staff there Thursday to help families find alternative programs, city officials said.
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In a statement to WABC-TV, ACS spokesperson Aja Worthy-Davis said, “Following this tragedy, ACS and DOHMH are actively investigating all aspects of this program. The program is being closely monitored and we will promptly take appropriate action as needed.”
Calls to the school were not returned.
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