I used to think Baby on Board signs were for the occupants' safety. Now I'm aware it's so others can steer clear.
Humor Parenting

Driving Under the Influence (of a Baby or Toddler)

I used to think Baby on Board signs were for the occupants' safety. Now I'm aware it's so others can steer clear.

By Jill Morgenstern of Do Try This at Home

Baby on Board signs became popular in the mid eighties as a way to warn other drivers. But warn them of what? I don’t want to hit or damage any car, whether or not it contains a baby. I drive as conscientiously as I can even without the encouragement of window signs.

Maybe others had similar thoughts, because the Baby on Board signs and stickers fell out of favor for a few years.

But they’ve made a comeback lately, and I’ve come to the sudden realization that the meaning of the sign should not be, “Please don’t hit my car and  hurt my baby!” but rather, “Please excuse my erratic behavior behind the wheel, because I am driving during any and all of the following:

I have been pelted by an errant baby bottle thrown from the back seat. I may or may not have a concussion.

I have been singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for 45 minutes straight to stop the constant crying and can’t hear you honking at me.

I have madly been tossing toys and snacks into the back seat for the same reason. I am driving one handed and tennis elbowed.

We have stopped three times to nurse and twice for diaper changes, turning what should have been a 15 minute jaunt into an hour long trip.

I can’t use my blinkers because my hand is stuck to the gear shift with whatever sticky substance my child just spread all over me.

I heard choking and screeched to a halt in the middle of the lane, leaving my driver’s door open as I rushed to the other side of the car.

I’m trying to remove the recent formula spill from the front of my work blouse.

A toy just bounced under my break pedal.

Cheerios are flying everywhere! I can’t see!”

It turns out that Baby on Board is not just a admonition to keep your distance. It’s a simple proclamation:

I am not drunk! I’m just driving under the influence (of a baby or toddler).


About the Author

Jill Morgenstern is a wife, mother, and teacher. She has four kids ages 27 to three, 13 years of teaching experience, and a Master’s Degree in Teaching Reading, yet reserves the right to be wrong about everything. She writes about food, family, and the ridiculous at Do Try This at Home. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.