We all go through plenty of stressful situations throughout our lifetimes, but nothing could EVER compare to the loss of a child. A kid is a parent’s pride and joy, and a parent would do anything to keep his or her child safe.
When it comes to caring for her kid, Kellie Travers-Stafford was no different. She loved her daughter, Alexi Ryann Stafford, with all her heart, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do for her. Unfortunately, Alexi’s life was more complicated than most.
The girl suffered from a severe peanut allergy. Although this allergy is pretty common, it is nothing to shrug off. This is one of the most fatal allergies out there, and it affects victims drastically.
So many foods are made with peanuts that even when these nuts are not an ingredient in a certain snack, there may still be traces of them in the food. Peanuts are in plenty of marketed goods, so many factories work with them. Foods that aren’t supposed to contain peanuts can easily become contaminated during production.
Of course, companies are required to indicate on the label whether or not the food in question may contain traces of peanuts. While the labels do conform to this requirement, the warning isn’t exactly super noticeable.
It is often written in small print and not placed in a prime spot on the packaging. Sure, companies have more to gain financially by giving this valuable space toward self-advertising, but they should put more emphasis on the safety of their consumers. Alexi fell victim to this lack of obvious warning one day when she decided to snack on a Chips Ahoy cookie.
Her parents were completely committed to ensuring that their sweet daughter never had to suffer an allergic reaction. “Our whole lives we dedicated to keeping our child safe from one ingredient, peanuts,” Kellie told Love What Matters.
Alexi had grown up learning which foods were safe and which weren’t; she often depended on cues in the packaging to decipher whether or not the food in question contained peanuts. Chips Ahoy, for example, uses different package colors to indicate differences in ingredients.
“The company has different colored packages to indicate chunky, chewy, or regular but NO screaming warnings about such a fatal ingredient to many people. Especially children,” Kellie explained while describing the packaging cues Alexi was accustomed to looking for.
Unfortunately, while the 15 year old girl was at a friend’s house, she got a little careless. “There was an open package of Chips Ahoy cookies,” Kellie shared. “The top flap of the package was pulled back and the packaging was too similar to what we had previously deemed ‘safe’ to her.”
Alexi took a bite out of a cookie that had been sitting in a red package, thinking that the color indicated ‘chewy.’ Then, after it was too late, she discovered the horrible truth: the cookies contained Reese’s peanut butter cups.
When the teen realized what she had done, she found herself in a state of panic. “She started feeling tingling in her mouth and came straight home,” Kellie recalled. “She went into Anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing and went unconscious. We administered 2 epi pens while she was conscious and waited on paramedics for what felt like an eternity.”
Sadly, it wasn’t enough. Alexi died within a mere 1.5 hours of eating that cookie. This was a harsh blow that her parents just couldn’t get over. “Our hearts are broken,” Kellie said, “and we are still in shock.”
Alexi’s parents had a hard time coping with the loss. Kellie wanted to share their story so that other parents would know to be more diligent when it comes to food allergies.
“As a mother who diligently taught her the ropes of what was okay to ingest and what was not, I feel lost and angry because she knew her limits. . . A small added indication on the pulled back flap on a familiar red package wasn’t enough to call out to her that there was ‘peanut product’ in the cookies before it was too late.”
“It’s important to us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn’t happen again.”
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Source: Love What Matters