Are Baby on Board signs a waste of time?

January 17, 2013

baby-on-board-badgeWhen I was pregnant with No 1 Son I had a fairly arduous commute to work, involving a train, tube and bus. One day I got on the train to find it rammed, with no seats available. I was obviously, visibly pregnant, but not one person offered me their seat. Two stops later, I fainted. I think maybe one person came to my aid.

After that I got into the habit of asking people to shift out of the priority seats if I needed to sit down. Would it have made any difference if I’d also been wearing a ‘Baby on Board’ badge? Doubtful.

I was having this conversation with my (female) colleagues at work the other day because one of them had got on a tube and seen two women, both with Baby on Board badges, forced to stand because no one would give them their seat. I probably would have said something but my point is that some commuters simply treat pregnant women as though they’re invisible, regardless of badges. The only way to force them to give up their seats is to embarrass them in to doing it.

(Conversely I’ve also had the Total Humiliation of being offered a seat when I wasn’t pregnant. Guaranteed to make you diet.)

One thing I’ve also never understood is the ‘Baby on Board’ sign for car windows, and yes we had one. Of course your offspring is extremely precious cargo but are reckless drivers really any less likely to crash into the back of you because you have a ‘Baby on Board’ or ‘Child on Board’ sign? And shouldn’t other drivers just be careful of all cars, anyway?

So what do you think – are Baby on Board signs and badges really necessary? Do they just give us a false sense of security,  or do they actually work? I’d love to know your thoughts.

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  • Carin February 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I’m totally with you on those signs on the back of cars. They’re one of my few pet peeves….if the person behind you is a bad or reckless driver those signs won’t help one bit.

  • Lizzie January 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Personally I don’t like those badges. I would always give up my seat for a pregnant woman (or anyone who looks tired/poorly/faint etc…) But there’s something arrogant about the baby on board signs. Maybe it’s a British thing but I find it a bit attention seeking…
    If someone told me they were pregnant and politely asked for my seat this wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I feel like a baby on board sign is a bit of an order- much prefer someone to politely make a request!

  • Jen January 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    When i was pregnant (standing) on a packed tube a man (seated) tutted at me when my bump accidently knocked the newspaper he was reading. You dont want to know my response. Also i once had to get up c5 months pregnant because no one else would get up and give someone c8 months preganat needed a seat!

    I think back to when i was driving with a new born and when i see a car with a “baby on board” sign i always keep my distance in case the driver is a tired as i was and falls asleep!

  • Mrs Lister January 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Just to clarify – where I said ‘it happened the majority of the time’ I meant people would notice the badge and stand for me.

  • Mrs Lister January 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Absolutely for the early stages of pregnancy – and if people didn’t notice/offer a seat (which happened the majority of the time I hasten to add) then I would ask whoever was sat in the designated ‘pregnants/olds’ seat to stand up.

    As soon as I became obviously pregnant I ditched the badge and just did the asking whenever necessary.

    I read somewhere that the ‘Baby on Board’ signs were used originally to alert the emergency services that there was a baby in the car in case of accident. I’m not sure what other use they serve as I personally drive carefully/safely all the time – being told there’s a baby in the car in front of me won’t change that.