Following the devastating loss of their 11-year-old daughter, Monique Altamirano and Jose Saldate from California are devastated after their dairy-allergic daughter and sister pased away from a severe allergic reaction.
Her parent’s alway tried to ensure that the environment around their 11-year-old daughter, Denise, was safe. Mainly because of her severe dairy allergy, they took their own food to birthday parties and carefully studied the ingredients on food labels.
They had no idea a tube of toothpaste would prove fatal to the vibrant sixth-grader. Now the California family is speaking out and warning other parents to remain vigilant about a household product that seems safe, but could potentially be dangerous.
On the evening of April 4, Denise was brushing her teeth with a medicated toothpaste – MI Paste One – that had been prescribed by her dentist to strengthen her tooth enamel. Her sister, who was in the bathroom with her, says that Denise immediately began crying and ran to her mother.
“She said, ‘I think I’m having an allergic reaction to the toothpaste,’ and her lips were already blue,” Monique explains.
“I picked her up and put her on my bed. I ran to the living room, told my daughter,’Call 911!’” while she administered an EpiPen and also gave Denise her asthma inhaler.
“She was saying, ‘Mommy, I can’t breathe.’ I was saying, ‘I love you, yes, you can,’” she recalls.
Monique – a former school bus driver – performed CPR until paramedics arrived and took her daughter away in an ambulance. Later that night, Denise passed away at the hospital.
The distraught mother is speaking out to warn other parents to be vigilant and to not become complacent when it comes to vigorously inspecting all products that their children come in contact with.
“Read everything. Don’t get comfortable, just because you’ve been managing for several years,“ she cautions. “You can’t get comfortable or be embarrassed or afraid to ask and ensure that ingredients are OK. Be that advocate for your child.”
Monique says they had been reading toothpaste labels since Denise was a little girl and had never seen milk present, and they didn’t think this product was a threat.
What the mother and daughter missed was a small warning on the tube’s label that indicated the presence of the ingredient Recaldent and milk protein. “I did not think to look at the product ingredients,” said Monique. “She was just excited to have her special toothpaste.”
A GoFundMe has been started to honor the little girl, who everyone said was “their best friend.” Her mother said“She was my sunshine, she was the light of my life.”
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