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UPDATE: Allergy Safety on NYS School Buses

As the school year comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to focus on ways to keep children with allergies safe on school buses, so we can be all ready to roll in September. We are pleased to report that legislation allowing school bus drivers to administer epinephrine in an emergency was passed by houses of the New York State legislature. Now the bill will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for consideration and (hopefully) enactment. Please support our efforts by contacting him directly to sign the bill.

UPDATE: Allergy Safety on NYS School Buses

Kids Getting On School Bus
Photo by Daniel Hurst

By Kristen Stewart
June 21st, 2017

Good news from Albany!

School busses are two steps closer to being safer for children who suffer from life-threatening allergies thanks to the passage of Assembly Bill A07635 sponsored by David Buchwald and Senate Bill S06005 sponsored by Terrance Murphy. The bill would allow employees of companies that provide transportation for NYS school districts to be able to administer an epinephrine auto-injector in emergency circumstances.

"We previously passed legislation authorizing school officials to administer epinephrine auto injectors but most school bus drivers work for independent companies, not the school district," explained Assemblyman Buchwald. "This legislation will authorize employees of firms providing services to school districts to deliver this vitally important protection to our youngsters who have severe allergies."

“In many communities across the state, school children spend anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour on a school bus each day,” said Senator Murphy. “My bill will ensure that children, especially those who are very young, have additional adults that will be able to intervene should a child experience a reaction or anaphylaxis while on a school bus. This legislation could add to the health and safety of thousands of children across the state.”

"As the mother of a third grader in New York State who has life-threatening food allergies I cannot stress how important this Bill is for similarly situated children in New York State schools," said Stacey Saiontz, a Chappaqua resident who campaigned for the legislation. "Food allergic children, like our son, are at risk for anaphylaxis, a systemic allergic reaction that can kill within minutes. To prevent death, anaphylaxis must be treated promptly with an injection of epinephrine. The Bill fills a gap that could make the difference between saving a child’s life and death. The Bill ensures that the right procedures are in place to prevent another death at cost to the State of New York."

“Thank you, Assemblyman Buchwald for not only recognizing the need for this life saving bill but for your hard work to make it a reality. Several thousand New York school children with food allergies are currently bussed to and from school each day. When a child experiences anaphylaxis, there is simply not enough time to wait for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene. Recently, a school bus driver in Massachusetts saved a student’s life when emergency personnel could not arrive on the scene in time. I am so pleased that New York school bus drivers will be able to do the same,” says Stacey. Rhode Island, West Virginia, Massachusetts and Illinois already have similar laws and Pennsylvania is trying to pass one as well.

“It's great news that the State Legislature has passed the bill and we thank Senator Murphy and Assemblyman Buchwald for their leadership on this issue,” said Jon Terry, founder of the Allergy Advocates Association. “The bill covers a big loophole in student school bus transportation that we were greatly concerned about. We are hopeful the bill will be signed into law so that school bus drivers, who work for independent companies, will be able to administer EAI devices when children in their care suffer life-threatening allergic reactions.”

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