Baby on Board: do you know what the sign really means?

When my first baby was born, I can remember sticking my Baby On Board (BOB) sign to the rear window of my car like a badge of honour I’d earned for becoming a mom. I can recall feeling pretty chuffed with my “precious little cargo” strapped in the seat behind me. I presumed that by seeing the sign, everyone would be extra careful when cruising in my lane.

What I didn’t know is that there’s another, very sensible, reason for putting up the BOB sign. As a mom on Facebook pointed out this week, if you’re in an accident, your emergency rescuers will know from the sign to look out for a baby who might not be able to get themselves out of the car, or may have been flung out into the roadside during impact.

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However, it’s important to remove the sign when you’re driving without your baby. This is because you don’t want to mislead emergency response and safety officials in an accident. Time is precious in an emergency and the last thing they need is to look for a baby who wasn’t there in the first place.

While there are many variations to the BOB sticker today, including some funny ones, the original yellow, diamond-shaped decal was designed and marketed by Michael Lerner in 1984 to encourage safer driving. He came up with the idea after his harrowing experience of driving around with his 18-month-old nephew.

The eye-catching decal was so popular that he started up the child safety product manufacturing company, Safety 1st. According to USA Today, over 10 million BOB decals have been sold in the past 30 years.

Road safety officials have previously confirmed that BOB signs are not compulsory but they do emphasise that if you do put one up, it’s important you make sure it’s not obstructing your view when you’re driving.

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