3-Year-Old Allergic To Dairy Dies After Being Fed Grilled Cheese At Daycare

by Valerie Williams
Image via GoFundMe/Silvera Family

The internet rushed to blame his parents

A three-year-old boy attending a Harlem preschool died this week from an allergic reaction after eating a grilled cheese sandwich. The child was allergic to dairy, and it’s not clear how or why he was fed the sandwich, but naturally, the internet is already blaming his parents.

According to CBS News, Elijah Silvera was attending school at The 7th Avenue Center for Family Services when he was allegedly given the grilled cheese by a teacher, despite his documented allergy, and soon died after going into anaphylactic shock.

There was no 911 call from the school, according to the New York City Fire Department. Instead, Silvera’s mother was called to take her son to the hospital where he later passed away. The school has since been closed while authorities investigate what happened.

Christopher Miller, a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, gave a statement to ABC News about the child’s death. “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. 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.”

A GoFundMe page set up by the boy’s family says that he left behind “a heartbroken mother, Dina, father, Thomas, and his 5-year-old brother, Sebastian.” The page was made to help alleviate financial concerns for the Silvera family during this horrible time. “Right now, our family is immersed in our grief, but we are also facing an overwhelming list of financial and practical matters, all related to Elijah’s untimely death,” it reads.

Image via GoFundMe/Silvera family

While the family waits for answers, (the funds raised will partly go toward paying for a second and independent autopsy to find out for certain what happened) the internet has already weighed in. And of course, they’re blaming the deceased child’s parents for what happened.

From deciding it was on them to send in his food (apparently ignoring the fact that a three-year-old can easily snatch food off someone else’s plate no matter what he’s given to eat):

FOR GOD’S SAKE. If your child has a serious food allergy, don’t trust strangers to feed them. Send them to school with their OWN FOOD.

What happened to this boy was tragic, but if I had a child with that prohibitive of a food allergy under no circumstances would I ever allow him to eat the food at the school, for this exact reason. I would make sure he would have his own lunches packed.

If your kid has an allergy that can result in death, maybe you shouldn’t trust them with others until they are old enough to realize to refuse to eat whatever can kill them.

If I had a young child that was deadly allergic to peanuts or dairy…there’s no way in hell I’d let him go to a public school unattended. I’m not going to trust my kids life to the possibility of someone else remembering his allergies.

To suggesting he simply shouldn’t have attended school to begin with. Because sure, everyone can swing staying at home, right? Everyone can figure out how to home school. Ridiculous.

When these types of allergies are this bad, the child should NOT be allowed to attend school.

Three years old, has a deadly allergy, and is left in the care of strangers? Not a good plan.

Oh, and of course, some had to subtly suggest that food allergies are either imagined or the fault of the parents.

Why are people suddenly allergic to EVERYTHING these days?

How sad. What is it with kids and all their food allergies nowadays?? Growing up in the 1970’s, I never knew ANYONE with such allergies. Not a single kid, ever.

There were even commenters suggesting the child “should’ve known” and therefore, rejected the sandwich.


So much sanctimony. So much blaming. So much bile being spewed in the direction of a grieving family. You know what kinds of comments hardly appeared at all?

“My condolences.” “This is heartbreaking.” “How awful for this family.”

Image via GoFundMe/Silvera family

Is this who we are now? Is this what we’ve become? A society full of people so quick to blame parents, even in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, instead of offering support and good thoughts? This is sick. A child died and now his family has to live the rest of their lives without him. No amount of chiding his parents about what they did or didn’t do to prevent it will help them now. There’s simply no need for cruelty at a time like this.

Can we please do better? Please?