Jul 15, 2017
This Kippah Could Save a Kid's Life

Mom of 5 Chanie Apfelbaum came up with a simple, clever idea to notify others that her son has severe allergies: an “allergy alert” kippah.

Arutz Sheva

At 3 1/2, Peretz Apfelbaum may not completely understand it yet, but some kitchens can put his life in danger.

The Brooklyn boy is allergic to peanuts, cashews, pistachios, flax seeds, mustard seeds, coconut, peas, eggs and beef. Some of the foods give him hives, but the nuts can send Peretz into anaphylactic shock. The inherent risks make it impossible to test the severity of some of the allergies, meaning he could have other, unexpected reactions to some of those foods.

Obviously, it is an extremely distressing situation for his mom, Chanie. But the 36-year-old mother of five from Crown Heights is doing something other than worrying. Chanie Apfelbaum came up with a simple, clever idea to notify others that her son has severe allergies: an “allergy alert” kippah.

The skullcap, which Apfelbaum helped design with the Brooklyn-based company iKippah — an online retailer with bright designs like the one inspired by “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” — is navy blue with a red circle on the front that contains the words “Allergy Alert.” It also says “flip for info” — the underside has lines to write down the child’s allergies.

“We loved Chanie’s idea immediately,” Sarale Seewald, who founded iKippah with her sister-in-law, Dina Seewald, told JTA. “We see a great need for this kippah, and we truly believe this design will help save lives.”

The company put the allergy alert skullcap on its website two weeks ago and, according to Seewald, has already sold a few hundred. Though the skullcaps are still unavailable in stores — iKippah has about 180 retailers as customers, in addition to its direct-to-consumer website — the company plans to make them available for wholesale soon based on the unexpected demand.

Food allergies have increased markedly in the United States in recent years. Research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has shown that food allergies in children rose by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, possibly from overuse of antibiotics or increased hygiene, which shields children from being exposed to infectious agents during the critical immune system-forming years.

Apfelbaum — a popular kosher food blogger under the moniker "Busy in Brooklyn" with more than 33,000 Instagram followers — has borne witness to the trend. She said Peretz used to wear a bracelet noting his severe allergies, but she feared it wasn’t prominent enough for others to see.

The kippah is an easy way to inform anyone serving food to an allergic child — at camp or restaurants or a parent hosting a play date — that they should be careful. Plus Peretz, who is a member of an Orthodox household, already wears a yarmulke every day.

Apfelbaum, who is a Chabad hasid, was worried, too, about Peretz running around from house to house in her community’s summer bungalow colony in upstate New York. She started a WhatsApp group to message other parents about her concerns, and she helped make the colony nut free.

But the worries never totally disappear for the parent of a child with severe allergies, especially when he or she is very young.

“I always remind him, but I can’t trust a 3-year-old to remember that he always has to ask before [he eats something] and say ‘I’m allergic,’” Apfelbaum said.

“I wanted something on him so that when someone looks at him, they say, ‘I can’t just give him food from my kitchen,'” she said of her kippah’s design. “It just makes me a little more secure.”

Still, it took Apfelbaum a little time to become accustomed to her son wearing the same kippah every day — she would help Peretz pick out a skullcap that coordinated with his clothes.

“You get so used to [using] one that matches every outfit, and now he can only wear that,” Apfelbaum said with a laugh. “But it’s worth it.”

The Allergy Alert Kippah can be purchased at www.ikippahs.com

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Opinions and Comments
(7/15/2017 11:30:05 PM)
Very ingenious!
(7/16/2017 12:29:40 AM)
Is there one for autistic kids???
Way to go....
(7/16/2017 12:38:25 AM)
Ikippah Rocks
Best kippahs in town.
(7/16/2017 12:58:08 AM)
what about girls?
My grandson age 8 could use one but also my granddaughter age 3.
(7/16/2017 1:30:13 AM)
Can we make a headband or necklace for girls?
(7/16/2017 2:53:46 AM)
A Tichel?
any idea for a girl with allergies?
(7/16/2017 5:30:26 AM)
What a brilliant idea!!
Cute kid also:)
(7/16/2017 6:49:26 AM)
Good for boys. What about for girls?
(7/16/2017 6:54:22 AM)
need one on a big bow for girls
bow manufactures...one for girls in same design...really necc. and important
(7/16/2017 6:59:19 AM)
Great photo! Was it taken by STP Designs?
(7/16/2017 7:27:02 AM)
but instead why don't you customize and put pictures. of all allergic foods? or the most dangerous ones
(7/16/2017 7:36:06 AM)
Don't put a snake on a yarmulke!
You could use Hatzalah's logo instead
(7/16/2017 7:42:56 AM)
Chani apfelbaum
Smartest mom! Best chef/ blogger
(7/16/2017 8:24:42 AM)
I have an idea for girls!
It's called a watch, people with diabetes wear this watch and this way they know what to do with them...

(7/16/2017 9:14:06 AM)
Take out the snake
It's a beautiful idea I encourage it a lot at the same time I would say to remove the snake same way we do not have it on the Hatzala Logo.

The reason why we do not believe in the snake is because it became an Avoda Zahra, people thinking that it was the snake that cured Everyone by the plague. However the snake was really meant everyone should look up at it but look up towards the Heavens to pray to Hashem. Therefore our rabbis told us to remove the snake, because people took the wrong idea.
(7/16/2017 9:17:08 AM)
So creative!!
Chanie, you did it again! Slam dunk! You amaze me over and over again. You are ka"h brimming with talent and creativity. Thank you for this wonderful idea it will surely helps keep boys with allergies safer and allow worried parents to breathe a bit easier.
(7/16/2017 9:27:07 AM)
Hats off to you, Mrs. Apfelbaum (pun intended).
May I suggest you simply remove the snake from the staff?
Have a look at the way Crown Heights Hatzalah did the same on their ambulances, pursuant to the Rebbe's guidance.
This is especially so as these yarmulkas are intended for young children.
Thank you for this potentially life saving project!
Have a look: https://www.google.com/search?q=Crown+heights+Hatzalah+logo&client=ms-android-att-us&prmd=nimv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjfsZTfgI7VAhUk9YMKHVYtDdwQ_AUICigC&biw=360&bih=560#imgrc=_
(7/16/2017 9:27:47 AM)
Ginues! Is there one for autism?
(7/16/2017 10:15:48 AM)
How would he feel?
It's a nice idea to protect your son but do you really think he will appreciate people going over to him and flipping over his yarmulke?? Don't you think it would make him feel uncomfortable? Can it just say - ask me? Or have pictures of the foods?
(7/16/2017 10:52:02 AM)
Kol Hakavod!!
(7/16/2017 11:00:25 AM)
Nechash HaNechoshet
The symbol with the snake comes from the incident in the midbar when people were bitten by snakes. Hashem told Moshe to put the snake on a stick and everyone should look up at the snake, and then put their trust in Hashem to heal them. If that's what Hashem said, why should it be a problem?
(7/16/2017 12:40:30 PM)
Great idea!
But what about for girls?
(7/16/2017 12:42:09 PM)
as long as it has the allergy emblem, why can't the yarmulkas be made in a variety of colors (keeping the emblem same but the background - yarmulka material - any color) and also variety of fabrics - cotton, velvet for dressier, etc ?
(7/16/2017 1:53:21 PM)
Great idea, may I add that you put his name on the Kippa as well. Just in case the boys exchange Kippa.
(7/16/2017 1:55:04 PM)
Not a new idea
There's a kid in my community who's had a yarmulke like this made with fabric paint by his mother for a while. It also lists his allergies on the outside so you can see them right away. His mother made it.
(7/16/2017 1:55:39 PM)
for girls
use a cap/hat/bow/
gr8 idea why look at the bad Side of it but name in the inside isa good idea
(7/16/2017 3:09:23 PM)
I love the idea!
And agree with the commentators that the snake should be removed, and the list of specific allergies could be on the outside (maybe even on a thicker edge) or on the back.
(7/16/2017 4:41:12 PM)
For girls
There is a necklace that u get or bracelets that have the symbol for people with allergies. Ask your local doctor....
(7/17/2017 3:51:56 AM)
such a genius
This woman is a real genius and her idea brought tears to my eyes. And the other mother who also did it.
(7/17/2017 10:02:46 AM)
Mr. Concerned
BS"D a serous thing, even nut free nosh for ex made in a
machine that made nut nosh could be a danger to such a child, hopefully they outgrow the allergies
(7/17/2017 3:45:16 PM)
Amazing idea
what a caring creative mother keep it up!
(7/17/2017 10:23:06 PM)
To #22
Poster #18 quotes an article where it mentions that Rabbi Bisritzky received a message from the Rebbe to temove it.

We know that the copper snake Moshe Rabbeinu made was later destroyed due to the Yidden treating it like an idol.
(7/17/2017 10:34:16 PM)
It's not quite aesthetically pleasing to have a Kippa that looks like an emergency Kippa. You can iron stickers with allergen information inside. If it is that urgent, your child can wear a medical tag.
(7/19/2017 7:01:35 AM)
Sarale and Dina U guys ROCK!!!!!!
May U both continue ur great work......and much continued success!!!!
(7/19/2017 2:18:23 PM)
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