Two well-meaning guests at my baby shower and a friend who recently became a new mom bought me a "Baby on Board!" sign. You know the type: black on yellow print, often suctioned to the back window of a vehicle to inform other motorists that you’re traveling with child. It’s kind of like a smiley face—anyone can recognize the sign from miles away.
So why does it feel like my fellow motorists are not just ignoring it, but are driving more aggressively around me now that my car is marked? Like the other day, when I was exiting my condo’s garage and a neighbour kept laying on the horn as I was waiting for the garage door to open. She did it again as I waited for a red light to turn green, and by the way, a pedestrian, who had the right of way, was crossing the road and my baby was about to fall asleep. (Thanks, neighbour! Not cool!)
But I have two clear reasons for why I keep using that sign:
1. There's a baby on board I don’t use the sign out of malice. I don’t use it to brag (even though I have the cutest baby in the world). And I don’t use it because I want special privileges. I use the sign because my vehicle is carrying a precious, young life. And, in the end, isn’t one of the basic rules of humanity to watch out for those who are most vulnerable?
2. The sign alerts emergency personnel In the case of an accident, a baby on board sign informs EMS, fire or police about the presence a child in the vehicle.
My father once told me, if you want to be respected, you have to show respect. So, here are a couple of things I do now that I’m using this sign:
I make it a point to remove the sign if my baby is not on board I don’t want to mislead emergency crews in the case of an accident. Time is precious in an emergency, and the last thing police or EMS need to do is look for a baby who was never in the car to begin with.
Check the road rage at the door Sign or no sign, since having my little one, I’ve learned to pack in some extra patience along those diapers when heading out on the road. That means no impulsive behavior, even if my fellow motorists aren’t playing nice in the sandbox.