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Here's exactly what those Baby on Board stickers mean.

Are ‘Baby on Board’ stickers on cars any use for emergency services?

What are their purpose and when should they be removed?

Relatives gave me a diamond-shaped black and gold suction sign that reads “Cutie on Board” that we’ve put on the back window of our car.

The reason I use it is that it makes me feel like people are aware I have a little human inside my car but it is often there when he isn’t.

Some parents think the stickers help emergency services in the case of an accident but NSW police say that’s not the case.

“The sign is not for emergency services, but more of a notice to other drivers. Anyone using these signs must ensure they are not obstructing the driver’s view,” a NSW Police spokesperson told Mamamia.

It seems emergency services departments across the country use their own protocols and don’t officially use the stickers as a tool for first responders.

Julie-Anne Newman, Acting Sergeant from Victoria Police, says the stickers are not reliable for indicating injured small passengers in a car accident.

“If police were to sight a sticker such as ‘Baby on Board’ when attending a collision scene, they may keep this in mind however – in the first instance information would be gleaned from the scene, from victims, from witnesses and from police enquiries,” she told Mamamia.

What is the purpose of a baby on board sign? Image via iStock.
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"A sticker indicating a baby on board could not be relied upon as there would be many variables to consider."

A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said the stickers had "no significance" in the case of an accident.

"They are not relevant to how NSW Ambulance responds to medical emergencies involving motor vehicles," they said.

Other emergency services said they look for other indicators that passengers are in the car.

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"Emergency Services first responders (be they paramedics or fire fighters) are trained to look for all sorts of indications as to who may or may not have been in a vehicle that has been involved in an accident," a spokesperson for ACT Fire & Rescue and ACT Ambulance said.

"For example, a child seat, baby capsule, a pram, a bag full of nappies, bottles etc can all be indicators that there was potentially a small child involved in the collision.

"A 'Baby on Board' sign or sticker would definitely also be taken into consideration if it was spotted at the scene of an accident but, given people’s propensity to put them on cars and leave them there, regardless of whether a child is actually in the car at the time, it would certainly not be the only thing our first responders look for," they added.

Some parents, like me, stick a "Baby on Board" sign on their car in the hope that other drivers will be more careful and less likely to tailgate or drive recklessly.

It is an opportunity, like baby on board badges on public transport, for people to be more mindful of precious cargo.

A new Aussie badge for pregnant women on public transport. Image via Baby in belly.
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However, some parents think the stickers should warn other drivers about tired parents.

"I used to think that they were announcing that an innocent young life was at stake, so please drive accordingly," said Ed Williams, a commenter on a US newspaper, The Mercury News.

"Now that I have had children, I think they might be a warning that a sleep-deprived, deranged and dangerous parent could be at the wheel, so look out," he added.

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