The Sad Truth Behind Those “Baby On Board” Car Signs

December 05, 2018

Ever been on a road trip and couldn’t find ways to pass the time? You may have found yourself looking out the window at other cars and passengers who were also on their way to a specific destination. And plenty of those people likely had a yellow sign on their car that said “Baby on Board.” Sure, it signals they’ve had a kid, but ever wonder what it really means?

There’s actually folklore out there that the sign was invented due to a horrific car crash in Canada. While the adults were rescued, their baby was reportedly trapped in the car, frozen due to the weather. Reason being, the rescuers didn’t know there was a baby in the vehicle to begin with.

That story is bound to make you feel a little sick — but it hasn’t been proven to be true.

Still, like many myths, it spread like wildfire, and many parents still actively believe it. In the ’80s, it was almost hard to avoid a “Baby on Board” sign — adults wanted to keep their kids safe in case of a crash, and also wanted to join the bandwagon. It was kind of like those family decals that seemed to crop up on every car overnight a few years back.

You’d assume that a car seat would be a strong enough indicator, especially today when most newborns can’t leave the hospital without one.

Rest assured, emergency services reportedly have a protocol that goes beyond looking for the yellow sign.

According to Snopes, a man named Michael Lerner founded the company Safety 1st, which specialized in these small yellow signs. But his inspiration wasn’t based on a true story that happened to him or someone he knew — he just saw that they were gaining popularity in Europe, and likely knew he’d be able to sell a ton. The company eventually specialized in other baby-related items as well.

While it’s not mandatory to have a “Baby on Board” sign on your car after giving birth, it often does give new parents peace of mind — which is so important during that first year. Many also feel like it might be a subtle reminder to aggressive drivers that they should safely share the road. Just know that if your baby isn’t in the car, you might want to remove the sign to avoid any confusion.