Baby on board

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For other uses, see Baby on board (disambiguation).

"Baby on board" is the message of a small (usually five-inch) sign intended to be placed in the back window of an automobile to notify emergency services.

History and popular use[edit]

A version of the sign was found in Germany by Patricia Bradley of Medford, Massachusetts.[1] With her sister Helen she started a company, PHOB, to market them in the US, but had only limited success until partnering with Michael Lerner.

Lerner was told about the signs after recounting his experience of aggressive drivers when driving his baby nephew home in busy traffic.[1] Lerner eventually bought PHOB for approximately US$150,000, and changed the name to Safety 1st.

The sign became a ubiquitous fad, flourishing in 1985. Its use in the US rapidly declined in 1986[2] as parody imitations with lines like "Baby I'm Bored", "Pit Bull on board", and "Mother-In-Law in Trunk" became popular, although its popularity continues in the United Kingdom (along with other versions such as "Princess on board" and "Little Person on board"), in Italy and in Japan (usually saying "Baby in Car", with the sign written in either English or Japanese script) well into the 21st century. The original parent company diversified into infant and child care products.[citation needed]

Despite waning in popularity, the signs have entered the American lexicon. In 1993, The Simpsons episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet" featured a barbershop quartet tune called "Baby on Board". The song was written by Homer Simpson in a flashback to 1985 when Marge bought a sign, hoping it would stop people from "intentionally ramming our car".

Following popular request and trials in 2005,[3] 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 pregnant commuters who would like to be offered a seat.[4]

Urban legend[edit]

An urban legend claims that the death of a baby led to the creation of the signs. According to, there is no truth to this claim.[5]


"Baby on board" may sometimes be used as a pun to refer to pregnant commuters.[6]


Warning decals similar to the "Baby on board" sign have been manufactured for autistic and other special needs children. The purpose of the sticker is to let people know that there is a child with a disability present who may not respond to emergency personnel.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b May, Jeff (13 June 2011). "After the One-Hit Wonder". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Tube trials 'Baby on board' badges for mums-to-be". Transport for London. 2005-03-07. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  4. ^ "Baby on Board". Transport for London. 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  5. ^ "Baby on Board". Urban Legends Reference Pages. 2006-09-02. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  6. ^ "10 badges for commuters". BBC. 2005-03-09. Retrieved 2012-04-21.