The mother who pushed for the passage of a school epinephrine law signed by Governor McDonnell says her work is not complete. Laura Pendleton says that although her daughter Ammaria was only seven years old when she died from an allergic reaction in school, she had a plan for each stage of her life. Pendleton still mourns her daughter’s death but plans to honor her life by advocating for better emergency planning in schools.
She says that while school officials scrambled to assist her daughter in January after another child gave her a peanut, a simple epipen would have saved time—and Ammaria’s life. Pendleton had provided an emergency plan for school officials to administer Benadryl if Ammaria came in contact with peanuts since school policy prevented them from using an epipen. Sixteen to 18% of children with KNOWN food allergies have reactions while in school. But 25% of reactions in schools occur in students who are previously undiagnosed. For this reason, Pendleton wants national legislation passed to address this.
“So no mother has to go through what I went through. And even children who don’t know they have allergies, or not even necessarily a food allergy, it could be a bee sting or anything, any type of allergy. They will be prepared,” says Pendleton.
The new law signed by Governor McDonnell requires epipens to be stocked in each school, while the budget provides funds to pay for them. New guidelines must be implemented for the 2012-2013 school year.