The story behind those ubiquitous “Baby On Board” decals is far from boring.
In honor of the divisive yellow car window sticker’s 35th birthday, the Washington Post has published its fascinating history. It starts in 1984, and ends with a childless man who mass marketed the iconic sign selling his sprawling Miami Beach mansion for $26 million to none other than proud dad DJ Khaled last September.
Michael Lerner, now 65, bought the rights to the cautionary symbol just a week after taking his first drive through Boston with his toddler nephew strapped in the backseat of his car.
“People were cutting me off, tailgating me, and I felt extraordinarily protective and concerned,” Lerner says of the harrowing experience.
But he didn’t like the original decal’s wording: Baby Aboard. He changed it, because “‘Baby Aboard’ felt like a boat,” he says.
Just months after making its debut, demand for the “Baby on Board” skyrocketed, and spawned a number of imitators, some less-than-flattering: “Baby I’m Bored” and “Mother-in-law in Trunk” both appeared on the roads in the 1980s.
The jokes only added to the sign’s ubiquity. In 2000, Lerner sold his kiddie gear company, Safety 1st, and walked away with $38 million.
And while Lerner appreciates that the sign gives new parents peace of mind, he’s never actually used one, because he never had children.
“I haven’t given up,” he says of the possibility of becoming a father.