1: What those 'Baby on Board', 'Pēpi on Board' and 'Pēpi Kei Rō Waka' car stickers are all about
Why does the baby on board sign exist?
You see the bright yellow sign everywhere nowadays, and it seems to almost induce road rage in some, but what many may not know is what the signs actually mean and how the signs became a global craze.
The Urban Legend
The story goes that there was a horrible caraccident where a woman was pulled from her car unconscious, but it wasn't until some time later that authorities discovered the body of a child in the vehicle. So someone came up with the idea of displaying a sign to alert emergency personnel and first responders to search for young passengers and little ones in the event of a crash. This definitely isn't a nice story but thankfully that's all it is. An urban legend. A myth.
The Real Story
So, what's the real story behind the original sign? Well, in 1984, former property investor from Massachusetts in the US called Michael Lerner was carefully driving his young nephew home after a visit and noticed that other people were motoring dangerously around him and the small child. He was probably just going slow in order to ensure the safety of the baby throughout the car trip and this caused others on the roads around him to tailgate, speed up and overtake dangerously. This got him thinking about how he could indicate to other road users that he was carrying precious cargo. He noticed the difference in his behaviour with extra caution behind the wheel as a result of his junior passenger, something which many a mum or dad feels when they start travelling around with an infant or kid in the car.
He had the idea to invent a "baby on board" sign mounted on a suction cup to encourage other drivers to exercise extra care and caution when driving around vehicles with younger passengers on board. He was then introduced to sisters Patricia and Helen Bradley. The sisters were aware of a variant of a safetysign for car windows in Europe and had made initial attempts to market the idea in the United States. Michael seized on this opportunity and agreed a deal for the rights to the product from the sisters. He went on to found the company Safety 1st and took advantage of his contacts in the retail industry to start promoting the product to big department stores. The car accessories started enjoying major success. The company sold thousands of the within the first month. Demand increased exponentially and within nine months, the company were selling hundreds of thousands of signs per month. Their website states that "this iconic sign has now proudly hung in millions of cars. Uniting families everywhere and celebrating parenthood since 1984."
According to police, the sign is not for first responders "but more of a notice to other drivers and anyone using these signs must ensure they are not obstructing the driver's view."
"The company sold thousands of the signs within the first month"
The general consensus seems to be that these stickers and signs do not have an official purpose, and that they are really just like bumper stickers. Some people might be using them for what they perceive to be a serious purpose, but they are not actually classified as official signs. For example, they are not in the same class as L Plates, which are official signs that have to be displayed on the vehicles of learner drivers. Baby aboard signs are basically optional and different motorists have different opinion about what they mean.
Facebook discussion of the phenomenon
The signs can however affect rear vision if they are attached to the rear windshield and should be placed in the bottom corner of the rear carwindow. A popular Facebook post has described the 'meaning' behind the signs, after a mum became disappointed that people called the signs 'annoying'.
Her post explained: "So I learned something new today! And in case you didn't know the true purpose of these signs.....no you're not supposed to "Drive Slower" around these people. No you're not supposed to worship them, or tread lightly around them because they have a baby..... The signs alert first responders that there is a person in the car that is incapable of unbuckling themselves in the event of an accident. Does the emergency service need to look for a body that was possibly expelled from the vehicle? The signs aren't 'annoying'."
So I learned something new today! And In case you didn't know the true purpose of these signs.....no your not supposed...
In 2005, Transport for London (TfL) began issuing badges with the TfL logo and the words "Baby on board!" to pregnant women travelling on the London Underground, to help other passengers identify a pregnant mom who would like to be offered a seat. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, a number of variants of the sign or vinyl decal have been introduced to take into account that many people like to express their support for the Māori language. These include the Pēpi On Board Sticker as sold by Good Logo.Co. Pēpi is the Māori word for 'baby'. Other variations of this include Pēpi Kei Rō Waka, which is a more literal translation of the warning sticker. There are even some funny variants of this bumper sticker such as "Massive Financial Burden On Board", "Mother-in-Law in Trunk" or even "No Babies On Board". They are often given as gifts at a baby shower. You can read all about the 'baby on board' sign phenomenon at Wikipediahere.
Checkout our 'Pēpi On Board' sticker at Good Logo.Co (no extra charge for rural delivery).