Family decals unsafe? More fear-mongering for parents

According to one father, calling family decal stickers "unsafe" is another example of fear-mongering in the world of parenting.

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Last year, I wrote a blog post about how much I loathe family-related bumper stickers on the backs of vehicles.

The worst of the lot are those stick figure ones which became popular about five years ago and are now still hanging around like the Kardashian sisters.

So you might think I'd be happy to hear about a recent news story that says experts are warning families to remove those stick figure decals from the back of their cars.

According to the story, police are concerned that families are broadcasting too much personal information with these stickers—thus making them a more vulnerable target for criminals. In truth, this warning has been around for a while, but it’s making its way around the Internet again thanks to this latest news story.

This just seems to be the latest example of ridiculous fear-mongering in the world of parenting.

Are you really going to tell me that a criminal is lurking in the mall parking lot, waiting for the perfect moment to read all about your family’s information? And then what are they going to do with that information?


“A-ha! This is perfect. Two parents, two kids and a dog. I know exactly what crime to pull off now.”

Seriously, what specific crimes are you going to execute based on this knowledge? Is there any evidence of an actual crime being committed because of the stickers? I’m having a hard time believing that this has happened before.

If you’re driving a minivan, you’re already broadcasting to the world that you either have a family or have your own carpet cleaning business. And chances are, it’s not the latter.

So if a criminal wanted to get specific details on what your family looks like, he would likely prefer to wait for you to exit the minivan to get an accurate description—rather than base it off a generic stick-figure rendition. Unless, of course, you’re dealing with the bumbling criminals from Home Alone.

And check out the example used by the search and rescue group on Facebook in that story. The dad is in army fatigues, so they immediately infer that he is away from home a lot. You know what I would take from that sticker? That dad is a military man and would likely kick the snot out of me if we ever met. Also, military dad probably owns a gun and knows how to use it. So I’m staying away from him.


I also love how Spike is described as a small, non-guard dog. So don’t worry about a potential home alarm system, because that dog doesn’t look intimidating.

As parents, we have been suckered into the fear-mongering trap like no generation before us. We put plastic covers on our electrical sockets and locks on the toilets. We have video monitors for our newborns and booster seats for our eight-year-olds to use in the backseat of a car. And why do we do all of this?

Because we’re constantly petrified that something is going to go wrong.

And now they’re suggesting that you remove generic stick-figure stickers from your back windshield because they are giving away too much personal information and somebody is waiting to take advantage of you.

By all means, I would love it if you got rid of those bumper stickers on the back of your car. But do it because they’re passé—not because you’re worried that a criminal is going to use it against you.


Follow along as Ottawa-based sports radio host Ian Mendes gets candid about raising daughters, Elissa and Lily, with his wife, Sonia. Read all of Ian’s The Good Sport posts and follow him on Twitter @ian_mendes.

This article was originally published on May 30, 2014

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