People have always enjoyed customising their cars with humourous tat. Nodding dogs, stickers showing places you’ve been to or stating that your other car is a Porsche and even suction cupped Garfield toys have all been popular for periods of time, but one such adornment that is still very popular in the UK is the Baby On Board sign.
The Baby On Board sign is a diamond of usually yellow plastic with a suction cup in one corner for fixing it to a car window. Printed in the centre of the square in big black letters is the phrase “Baby On Board”. The signs started appearing in the mid eighties, and they were initially introduced as a safety measure, rather than to annoy other drivers with you bragging about your kids.
The idea was that by displaying such a sign in the car, if you were to have an accident then the emergency services could be extra vigilant about looking for a young child who may have fallen into a foot well in the car, for example. The only trouble with this was that you were obviously supposed to remove the sign when not travelling with an infant, because that could cause delays whilst fire or ambulance workers searched for a non existant child.
Over the years differently worded signs have also appeared, some serious (e.g. Child On Board), others trying to be cute (e.g. Princess On Board, Little Dude On Board – coloured pink and blue respectively), personalised ones and others more humorous (e.g. Pitbull on Board). There are probably a whole bunch of rude ones too, but this website is not the place for those…
The phrase itself though has seeped into the public consciousness to the extent that it is now also used on other products. You can get T-Shirts for pregnant women bearing the slogan (often with an arrow pointing at the baby bump) and Homer Simpson even wrote a song about the sign when he was part of a Barbershop Quartet. There has even recently been a film titled Baby On Board – in fact I’m surprised it has taken until now for this to happen!