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Back to school: Students riding school bus now allowed to carry EpiPen, bus drivers trained to administer medication

Health News

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Families like the Zweigs are on a constant vigil.

Julia Zweig explains, “I was really nervous about her safety.”

Daughter Ava was diagnosed with a tree nut allergy two years ago.

“We’ve never experienced a significant anaphylaxis reaction, ” says Scott Zweig, “That required a hospitalization or an epinephrine pen but it could happen at any moment.”

The life saving EpiPen is at home and school but the unthinkable could happen on a familiar mode of transportation, tasked to get her back and forth safely — the school bus.

“The problem was there was no medicine on the bus with her,” says her mom.

So that Ava and other students with food allergies could ride the bus feeling less anxious – parents like Julia and Scott Zweig pushed for a law which included getting school bus drivers trained to administer the medication.

Legislators passed it.

Julia says, “Which means she can carry it in her backpack now, even though she’s not able to self administer, which is why the bus drivers had to get trained.”

“The law is in effect,” says Scott, “So I’d like to think they’ll comply but there aren’t a lot of penalties. There aren’t any penalties in the law so I wouldn’t be surprised if some weren’t ready to go.”

Bus drivers, transporting precious cargo in Glastonbury, are ready to go.

Access Transportation Safety Supervisor Eduardo Marin, says, “The more you know, the better off you are in case of an emergency. I think everybody should be aware of how to treat somebody because it’s a matter of life and death.”

A safety net is now in place for thousands of children in the state.

Food Allergy Advocate Tricia Donovan points out, “Those children have not been able to ride the bus. Their parents have opted to drive them back and forth because there has been no safe access.”

Parents are urged do a number of things, which includes attaching a medical alert badge to where the EpiPen is located.

Along with what Scott Zweig plans to do on day one, “I’m getting on the bus and asking him are you trained? And I’ll make sure he knows who my daughter is, where her medication is saved, in the off-chance something happens in the bus.”

Reassuring for the soon to be second grader.

Ava says, “Because there’s people, places where I am that can help me like when I need help.”

Not sure if your school bus drivers are trained? Supporters are encouraging parents with children with food allergies to check in with their school bus company, school district, and local transportation office.

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