As a mom, nothing is more important to me than the safety of my son. As a human being, nothing is more infuriating than knowing that we have the ability to help others and for some reason, we do not. That is why I have introduced AB 1651. A common-sense solution to empower schools with possible life-saving tools for their students.

The Issue

According to the Food Allergy Research Education (FARE) organization, as many as 32 million Americans suffer from life-threatening allergies. This accounts for a 377% increase in the diagnosis of anaphylactic food reactions between 2007 and 2016. Of this population, 1 in 13 are children who rely on parents, caregivers, teachers, and school administrators to keep them safe while at school.

Anaphylaxis is a potentially lethal allergic reaction. It can happen when a person is stung by a bee, ingests food such as shellfish or nuts, or even comes in contact with specific materials like latex. Epinephrine is the first line of treatment for someone who is experiencing anaphylaxis. Without prompt use of an auto-injector, allergic reactions can be severe, and even fatal. Epinephrine Auto-Injectors (EAIs) are easily administered and help prevent allergic reactions from becoming lethal if administered promptly.

Currently, California requires school districts to “provide emergency epinephrine auto-injectors to school nurses or trained personnel” to ensure that schools have the tools they need to intervene in anaphylaxis. However, many schools do not have full time nurses or other personnel authorized to administer EAIs during school hours and after school programming. In fact, no county in the state comes close to meeting the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of one full-time nurse per school.

The Solution

AB 1651 will help better protect students with food allergies on campus by doing the following:

1. Requiring EAIs to be stored in accessible and known locations for emergency use.

2. Notify all staff of the location of EAIs in an annual notice.

3. Publicly post information related to the prompt use of EAIs on school campuses.

4. Ensure that school staff who administer EAIs in good faith during emergencies when a nurse or other trained medical professional is not available are protected under the liability protections set forth in California’s Good Samaritan Law.

AB 1651 is good legislation that will help our children. That is why it is supported by Allergy Strong, California Food Allergy Moms, Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), Latino Food Allergy Network , and Red Sneakers for Oakley.

In summary, this bill will ensure that the location and use of on-campus epinephrine auto-injectors (EAIs) are known and accessible to all school staff.