Yesterday, I spotted a Baby On Board sign in the back window of a car for the first time in a very long while. The signs were a huge fad when they were introduced in 1985, so ubiquitous it seemed tiny humans were being transported by every vehicle on every road. They were still around when our daughter was born in 1994, although we never stuck one on our car windows.

However, they have since faded from view and I wonder why.

It’s not that humans stopped having children. It’s not that infants were no longer being carried en masse in cars, minivans, and SUVs. It’s not that the signs were no longer being produced (I’d bet there’s a warehouse somewhere with a large number of them still on the shelves).

Perhaps it’s because Baby On Board signs were more a message announcing the driver’s ability to procreate than a warning to others to be careful around those vehicles. Were they effective in regard to the latter? I can’t find conclusive evidence they had any impact one way or the other on the number of automobile accidents involving young passengers.

Interestingly, the generation that was riding around in car seats during the signs’ (baby) boom years have since become parents themselves. You’d think that would create a perpetual market for them. Instead, they’ve faded from view — as all fads eventually do when the public loses interest.

From Baby On Board to Baby I’m Bored.