Baby on board signs are a true Marmite – you either love them, or hate them. I used to be in the hate camp, but I think that’s about to change.
I always used to roll my eyes at ‘Little princess on board’ or ‘Daddy’s little dude’ signs stuck to the back window of the car in front.
Not only did I see them as unnecessarily blocking the rear view but they also have a certain bubble wrap factor to them…
As if I’m suddenly going to stop my apparent erratic and unsafe bumper car driving and give them more space because of their bundle of joy on board. I just don’t think they work for that purpose! That’s why I’ve never owned one.
What baby on board signs are really for
But, I’ve recently learnt that this isn’t the main reason behind baby on board signs. The reason is actually one of safety for emergency services to indicate a car that may have a child on board who can’t help themselves to get out or who may be trapped.
If a sign is found in a car that’s been in an accident, then the emergency services are obliged to search for the child. So, that means that this little sign can save your child’s life.
As you can imagine, if the child wasn’t actually in the car in the first place then this can waste a significant amount of time and resource that could otherwise be used to help other injured people.
So, the advice for using baby on board signs is to take it out when the baby isn’t in the car – simple.
This may seem like an annoyance, but let’s think of it this way: If your other half was in the car alone and needed help, would you want the paramedics to be scrambling after a non-existent child, or to be helping them?
Think of it more as putting on a seatbelt. When they first introduced seatbelts, it was seen as an unnecessary inconvenience, but we know they save lives and now we don’t even think twice about this little action and is second nature when we get in and out of the car.
Research by Flexed.co.uk, a car rental company, has found that 99% of parents surveyed who use Baby on Board signs didn’t know their real use, with only 1% removing the sign when the child wasn’t in the back.
Novelty signs – the cause?
I’m not quite sure where we lost track of the real meaning of these signs, but I personally think it has something to do with novelty baby on board signs.
Cute as some of them may be, I think they have detracted away from an official warning sign to our current understanding of them being a ‘keep clear, I have a baby, cotton-candy world of smugness’ sign.
More needs to be done by road safety charities to raise awareness of this issue and hopefully parents like me will be more inclined to purchase one as a safety item that could save a child’s life if used properly.