Mom Sues Daycare over Child’s Severe Fish Allergy Reaction

in Fish & Shellfish, Managing Allergies, Parenting & School
Published: March 7, 2024

A toddler’s mom is suing a Texas daycare center, alleging that staff fed the 3-year-old fish sticks. She says the girl then suffered a severe allergic reaction.

In her legal complaint, Danielle Levy says Allen Knowledge Beginnings, the daycare center, did not immediately call for emergency help, nor did staff follow her child’s emergency allergy plan for fish allergy. Levy says a staff member instead contacted her, and she called 911.

The lawsuit, filed in February 2024, outlines the incident at the Allen, Texas center. It says that, after being fed fish sticks for lunch in July 2022, Levy’s daughter began experiencing anaphylaxis.

The suit says the toddler “was found in the bathroom, without her clothes on, crying and barely breathing with her tongue, lips, and face swelled up.”

Emergency responders treated the girl’s anaphylaxis with two epinephrine injections as well as oral medication as they took her to the hospital, according the suit.

Child in reaction: swelling, breathing trouble.

Levy cites the responders saying her daughter might not have survived had they been called just five minutes later.

“In a literal life-or-death situation involving my daughter’s life, Allen Knowledge Beginnings failed to act quickly,” Levy said in a statement. “It’s infuriating, and I am relieved that she’s still here thanks to the first responders that I contacted.”

Allen Knowledge Beginnings is owned by KinderCare Learning Centers, which operates more than 2,300 locations across the United States. KinderCare does not comment on pending litigation, a spokesperson told Allergic Living.

Levy also alleges that the incident marked the second time in one month that her daughter was served fish. This occurred despite her allergy emergency plan. The lawsuit says that, on the earlier occasion, Levy intervened before her child ate fish.

Fish Sticks, Allergy Training

The toddler’s mom is seeking damages for medical expenses, loss of wages and suffering. The legal action requests a jury trial to consider various counts of negligence and the damages to be awarded.

Besides feeding the child fish sticks, the lawsuit asserts the daycare center failed the 3-year-old in several ways.

In addition to not following the emergency care plan, the complaint alleges the daycare center was negligent in not training all caregivers about her allergy and food allergy safety. It also states that the center did not post required food allergy warnings in the classroom or on food trays.

“Danielle took all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of her daughter,” the lawsuit states. Levy informed the Allen Knowledge Beginnings of her daughter’s allergy when she enrolled at the center, four months before the anaphylactic reaction. The lawsuit says this is documented on admission forms and the allergy emergency plan.

The complaint accuses the caregivers of disregarding the child’s known allergy and allergy plan, including the earlier incident in which she almost ate fish.

It also says an investigation by two state agencies found the daycare center in breach of daycare licensing rules. This relates to serving a child a food that was identified in an emergency plan as an allergen.

Levy’s attorney, Russell Button of The Button Law Firm, says the case goes beyond legal issues. It is “a stark reminder that daycare centers like Allen Knowledge Beginnings bear responsibilities in protecting the lives of little ones that hard-working parents entrust in their care.”

Related Reading:
Gina Clowes: Food Allergies and School – How to Get What You Need
What I Learned About Birthday Parties and Food Allergies