Elijah’s Law in Maryland Hailed; Action Urged in Other States

in Food Allergy, Food Allergy News, Parenting & School
Published: April 25, 2024
Elijah Silvera

Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed Elijah’s Law on April 25, 2024. The law is designed to protect children with food allergies at the state’s 5,000 childcare facilities. 

The law (House Bill 1195) requires Maryland childcare providers to develop procedures to reduce the risk of anaphylaxis. This will include training to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis, implementing emergency protocols, and creating guidelines for storing and administering epinephrine auto-injectors. 

“With the passage of Elijah’s law, Maryland continues to be a national leader in ensuring safe, high-quality childcare for our youngest residents,” said Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr. 

“I’m proud to have sponsored this legislation to better educate childcare providers on how to keep the children in their care safe,” says Palakovich Carr, who has a child with a food allergy. The bill’s Senate sponsor is Senator Clarence Lam, MD.

Elijah’s Law is named for Thomas Silvera and Dina Hawthorne’s son Elijah-Alavi. They co-founded the Elijah-Alavi Foundation (EAF) after the 3-year-old died of severe anaphylaxis in 2017. The child was served a grilled cheese sandwich at his New York City preschool despite having a known dairy allergy. The daycare then failed to call 911.

“This law not only honors the memory of my son, Elijah-Alavi, but also serves as a beacon of hope and protection for all children with food allergies and non-food allergies in childcare settings,” Silvera tells Allergic Living. 

Silvera thanked organizations who “were crucial in making this legislation a reality.” These included Kaléo and nonprofits FARE, Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), Kids with Food Allergies, and the Allergy & Asthma Network.

Elijah’s Law: Moving Beyond Maryland

FARE CEO Sung Poblete hailed Maryland’s enactment of Elijah’s Law. “Today’s bill signing makes Maryland’s more than 5,000 childcare centers safer for the more than 29,000 infants, toddlers, and children 5 and under with potentially life-threatening food allergies,” she said. 

Maryland becomes the fourth state to enact Elijah’s Law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2024. New York, Illinois and Virginia previously passed similar laws that mandate anaphylaxis protocols and training at the preschool level.

Silvera is excited to have Elijah’s Law in Maryland. However, he says “the urgent work” to protect young children at risk of anaphylaxis does not stop at four states. “The imperative for federal legislation and broader state adoption of Elijah’s Law cannot be overstated,” he says. 

Elijah’s Law bills have also been introduced in California, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania

Thomas Silvera
Thomas Silvera of Elijah-Alavi Foundation

Support from community advocates, along with national advocates, is crucial to pushing forward for passage of these bills, Silvera notes. AAFA provides links and form letters to make it easy to write to legislators, asking them to support their state’s Elijah’s Law. 

A vote is imminent on bills in California, Missouri and Pennsylvania. So, Silvera stresses that immediate action can influence the outcome, especially in those states. 

Momentum is building in Missouri. Silvera and EAF are working with legislators including Representative Emily Weber, Representative Anthony Ealy, and Representative Jim Shulte to amend the bill and ensure its passage.

In Michigan and Kansas, sustained efforts to garner legislative support for Elijah’s Law is also necessary, he notes.

A Safer Future for Allergic Kids

As Silvera continues his efforts to see Elijah’s Law across the United States, he is optimistic about the progress being made. That includes the recent passage of the law in Maryland. 

He says the loss of Elijah-Alavi spurred him and Dina, the boy’s mother, into relentless pursuit of change. Their poignant aim: “to ensure that no other family endures the pain we have faced.” 

“Each state that adopts this law honors his memory and builds a safer future for children everywhere,” says Silvera.

Related Reading: 
2022: California Gov. Vetoes Elijah’s Allergy Law for Daycares
2019: New York States Enacts Law Protecting Allergic Kids in Daycare
Food Allergies at School: How to Keep Your Child Safely Included