Kellie Travers-Stafford, a grieving mother from Weston, FL, is determined to warn parents about the dangers of food allergies after her 15-year-old daughter, Alexi Ryann Stafford, died from accidentally eating a cookie with peanut butter chips in it. In a heartbreaking Facebook post, Kellie explained that she did everything in her power to keep Alexi's peanut butter allergy under control. However, a packaging mixup involving Chips Ahoy! cookies caused her daughter to die after ingesting just one.
"Our hearts are broken and we are still in shock. Our whole lives we dedicated to keeping our child safe from one ingredient: peanuts," wrote Kellie. "On Monday, June 25, our 15-year-old daughter, Alexi Ryann Stafford, while at a friends house, made a fatal choice. There was an open package of Chips Ahoy cookies, the top flap of the package was pulled back and the packaging was too similar to what we had previously deemed 'safe' [for] her."
As soon as Alexi ate the cookie, she started to have an allergic reaction.
"She ate one chewy Chips Ahoy [cookie] thinking it was safe because of the 'red' packaging, only to find out too late that there was an added ingredient . . . Reese peanut butter cups/chips," said Kellie. "She started feeling tingling in her mouth and came straight home."
But as soon as Alexi got home, her health took a turn for the worse while her mom watched helplessly, waiting for help to arrive.
"It's important to us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn't happen again."
"Her condition rapidly deteriorated. She went into anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing, and went unconscious," she explained. "We administered two Epipens while she was conscious and waited on paramedics for what felt like an eternity. She died within 1 & 1/2 hours of eating the cookie."
Looking at the containers in side-by-side photos, it's easy to see how the confusion happened. The packaging is essentially identical other than a small logo in the corner.
"As a mother who diligently taught her the ropes of what was OK to ingest and what was not, I feel lost and angry because she knew her limits and was aware of familiar packaging, she knew what 'safe' was," said Kellie. "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."
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Now, Kellie is doing everything in her power to ensure no other child makes the same deadly mistake her daughter did.
"I want to share our story with everyone because we want to spread awareness. The company has different colored packaging to indicate chunky, chewy, or regular but NO screaming warnings about such a fatal ingredient to many people," wrote Kellie. "Especially children. It's important to us to spread awareness so that this horrible mistake doesn't happen again."