The Story Behind the “Baby on Board” Decals

The Story Behind the “Baby on Board” Decals

The Story Behind the “Baby on Board” Decals

Love them or hate them, the Baby on Board decals that often adorn minivans have been around for decades – more than 30 years, in fact. And people have been making fun of the bright yellow, diamond-shaped stickers for just about as long as they’ve been around.

As the Washington Post reports, “The origin story of the baby-on-board decal is a story of the American Dream, the sort of tale that begins with an entrepreneurial 30-year-old man on a harrowing drive with his 18-month-old nephew in the back seat, and ends decades later with that same man selling his $26 million Miami Beach estate to DJ Khaled.”

The Birth of a Decal

Michael Lerner was the 30-year-old man behind the success of the “Baby on Board” stickers. You may be surprised to learn that he didn’t even have kids! But he does have a nephew and back in 1986, Lerner had to drive the little guy home. Boston traffic being what it was (and still is, we understand), the drive was more than a bit stressful. Not long after that experience, a friend told Lerner about two sisters he was representing who were hoping to print safety decals that could be marketed to new parents.

The sisters’ originally wanted the decals to read “Baby Aboard.” Lerner created a company called Safety 1st, that would go on to become a global concern, selling all kinds of safety-related children’s products. It was Lerner who changed it to “Baby on Board.” The Washington Post says he thought “Baby Aboard” sounded too nautical. Lerner also came up with the idea of making the stickers diamond-shaped.  

“In September of 1984 we sold 10,000 signs,” Lerner told the Washington Post. “By June, we were getting orders for 500,000 a month.”

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