I was looking for something on the internet and got side-tracked, as I often do, into looking at something else which caught my eye. It was a site for funny bumper stickers, one of which read, “Adults on Board. We Want to Live, Too.” This caused me to chuckle, as I have often wondered just what the point was of those “Baby on Board” decals.
The Baby on board signs are believed to date back to the 1980’s when they were first put on sale by the Safety 1st Corporation. Although it is said they can alert emergency services to the presence of a child, their original purpose was to encourage other motorists to drive carefully in the presence of a car carrying a child. However, one survey claims that the Baby on Board stickers have caused one in twenty accidents. I’m not sure what that statistic was based on, but some sites have indicated that depending on where the decals are placed, they can potentially obscure the driver’s view. In fact according to a poll of 2000 drivers, 46% viewed these decals as a hazard.
I have to admit when I see one of those decals, I don’t automatically think, “Oh, goodness, I need to stop driving like an idiot and exhibiting road rage because there’s a baby in the car ahead of me.” Perhaps, though, I need to stop tail gating as I just closed the gap with the car in front of me in order to read the “Baby on Board” decal. Of course, hopefully, I’m driving carefully, anyway, and the fact that there is a baby in the car ahead of me doesn’t improve my driving. I suppose I could go so far to say that perhaps knowing there is a baby in the car ahead of me might actually make me more nervous and more likely to have an accident—kind of like in school zones where my eyes are so focused on my speedometer to be sure I’m not going 21 miles per hour instead of 20 that I miss seeing the pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Then I got to thinking. Maybe the benefit of the “Baby on Board” stickers isn’t for the vehicle sporting them, but for all the other vehicles around them. “Baby on Board” could mean a potentially sleep-deprived driver or a distracted driver who is fumbling with one hand on the backseat floor board for the dropped pacifier. Or it could mean there is a shrieking infant who is rendering the driver a literal nervous wreck. From this perspective, “Baby on Board” decals could be a warning that it may be safer to steer as far away from these vehicles as possible.
Now the pet owning public has taken this one step further with “Dog on Board” decals. So now I’m even more confused. Does that mean if I run into the back of the vehicle in front of me, the dog on board will jump out and eat my face off? Or does it mean I need to be wary because the dog hanging way out the driver’s window may fall out into the road and cause an accident? Not that the driver with the co-driving dog in his lap would be distracted, if say, the dog suddenly jumped up in front of him to bark at the dog riding in the back of the pick-up truck in front of him. But I suppose the decals have the same intent as the “Baby on Board” decals, in that people around them should drive more carefully knowing there is a dog in the vehicle. (To heck with the people, there is a dog in that car!)
Perhaps someone needs to come up with a decal saying, “Frazzled parent with four screaming kids in the car. If you know what’s good for you back off!” Or “Pet parent with three yapping dogs that are driving me crazy!” As for me, I’m ordering the sticker I found on Amazon. “No Baby on Board. Feel Free to Crash into Me.”
Hi Ellen, I can remember driving with babies on board, which was before those Baby on Board signs were invented. But I can think of one good reason for having one. When you’re driving erratically, it’ll let the other drivers and police know what your excuse is, and that you’re not drunk or drugged.