New Jersey is the latest state to pass legislation to make schools safer for students and staff with food and sting allergies.
On Feb. 5, 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill (S-801/A-304) that requires public and private schools in the state to keep epinephrine auto-injectors on hand for emergency use, and which authorizes school nurses or trained personnel to use those auto-injectors if a student is experiencing anaphylaxis.
“This new law will make sure that schools are prepared to respond immediately in the case any student has an allergic reaction,” Senator Kevin O’Toole, one of the sponsors of the bill, said in a statement. “Receiving an immediate dose of injectable epinephrine for anaphylaxis can be a life-saving measure.”
Although most states allow schools to stock epinephrine that’s not prescribed to a specific individual, New Jersey is the ninth state to require stock emergency auto-injectors. New Hampshire, Hawaii, Iowa and Rhode Island are the only states that currently have no epinephrine laws or regulations in place.
Illinois was the first state to enact this type of legislation and a recent study revealed that emergency stock epinephrine auto-injectors were used in 38 anaphylactic reactions in Chicago schools during the 2012-2013 school year. More than half of the children who received emergency injections of epinephrine had no known history of a food allergies.
“Time is of the essence when a child has a serious allergic reaction and this law is vital because a child may experience his or her first allergic reaction while at school,” said O’Toole.
The bill was originally introduced last January and will take effect at the beginning of the new school year in September 2015.