Worse Than “Baby on Board!”

Hi Readers! Excuse me while I gag. Amazing how one sign can make everyone who passes this stroller feel big, dirty, disgusting, diseased and depressed.

Remember those “Baby on Board!” signs, that made it seem as if people who were seriously considering crashing into a car would reconsider upon realizing it was carrying someone small? I’m having flashbacks.  — Lenore

While we're at it, don't breathe near me, either.

159 Responses

  1. well in the signs defense, if you’re baby has an immune issue then it’s fully justified

  2. Apparently, the mother hasn’t read the numerous articles that say early exposure to germs and bacteria is essential for the development of a strong immune system.

  3. I can just picture the mom pushing this stroller with a germ wipe in each hand! Laughs.

  4. We were leaving a restaurant today, and my 15 month old son was holding my hand and walking next to me. As we walked through the crowded lobby area, we walked by a couple with an infant carrier. As we walked by the infant carrier, they saw us, and one of them took the canopy and adjusted it so you could no longer see the baby in it, so presumably my son wouldn’t breathe on the baby for the nanosecond it took him to walk by it.

  5. I don’t know. There are, for example, babies who are born prematurely for whom keeping (much more) protected from germs (than the rest of us, even other babies) is a big deal.

    And honestly, though I don’t “like” this sign, in a world where we’re from diverse cultures with different perspectives on what is/isn’t appropriate, this seems like an easy way for a parent to signal that he or she isn’t one who likes folks coming up to cuddle the baby.

    I say this as someone who’s been amazed at the number of moms who express horror that someone on an airplane (certainly not a setting where an abduction’s going to occur) would offer to hold their baby. Me? I hand mine off gleefully (but I respect your right not to). Well, I used to, he’s 3 now and both less appealing and less cooperative.

  6. … though, if we’re going to have a line of products like this, perhaps we can come up with some of our own. “Thanks, but I’m not cold and do not need a hat” (written from the baby’s perspective).

  7. In our defense, we got one of those for DD after she came home. She was born in late October and spent three days in the NICU for breathing issues. For a couple of months, any time we went out, we carried her in sling (well, we do that anyway) and had that sign on her, because we were advised that newborns with the challenges she had who catch a cold are at a much higher risk to catch RSV, which can lead to all sorts of problems later in life, including increased susceptibility to pneumonia and a higher incidence of asthma-related issues. (More info here: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/298_9546.asp)

    So in that case, I’m glad that someone sells the signs. But for 95% of the population, it makes no sense.

  8. As the very free-range mom of a preemie with breathing difficulties…some kids are at far greater risk from common winter virus infections than the average.

    Yes, if you think you’re touching my very cute (and, other than the tracheostomy, oxygen, and ventilator, very very normal) toddler without hand sanitizer this time of year, you’ve got another thing coming.

    In his 20 months, he’s been out of the hospital only about 20 days longer than he’s been in the hospital, and we’re only now starting to get to the point that minor colds don’t end up with him back in the ICU. I’d love to just keep him at home, but sometimes we need a change of scenery, you know?

  9. Silver Fang, it depends on the type of germs. Disease-causing germs and the infections they trigger are not good for short or long term health. The sea of harmless bacteria we evolved in, on the other hand, seem to be not only good for our immune systems, but necessary for their regulation. More and more evidence is piling up that the modern-day increase in allergies and autoimmune disorders is related to reduced exposure to harmless soil bacteria, intestinal bacteria. etc.

  10. I think the point is that these signs appear to be mass-produced and th therefore a “Use this or be a bad parent!” type object, you know?

    As for handing babies off, I never was worried. I happily handed all three of my babies to anyone who wanted to hold him or her. I even offered: want to hold her? Because it gave my back a break and I could breathe for a minute, lol!

  11. I don’t think the problem is the sign so much as a grown person being unable to say “don’t touch my baby”, so if you’re mute or something I am on board with the sign.
    And I never minded the baby on board signs. i know it became a thing that was bigger than itself, but I always read them as “Hey jerk face driving 90 in the slow lane and checking yourself in the mirror THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE ON THIS ROAD TOO!”

  12. Mass produced and not something everyone needs. There are kids with immune/breathing problems that need protection. Thing is I don’t think people are going to notice/obey the sign. The parents of fragile children are going to have to be vigilant. (that is compatible with free range. I was a fragile child with numerous interrelated medical problems my parents taught me to deal)

  13. I’m all about the free range, my 16-month-old daughter eats off the floor and after the dog, and I hate the whole antibacterial-everything mindset.

    That said – she was born a month early, weighing under five pounds, and with a heart defect, and received RSV vaccines for several months. In the booklet that parents receive with the first vaccine, there was an order form for a sign like this.

    Her heart defect was repaired surgically at 4 months, she’s perfectly healthy now and has now ingested WAY more than her share of germs, I’m quite sure, but when she was new and tiny and her cardiologist told her that if she got flu or RSV, she’d be in ICU on a ventilator, you can bet we wanted strangers to keep their distance.

    We didn’t get a sign, but mostly that was because we almost always wore her in a wrap when we were out and about. That seemed to help alot, because people had to invade my personal space to get to her, but considering how many total strangers still touched her – mostly on her hands and face – I can only imagine how much touching there is if a baby is in a stroller or a “bucket” carrier.

    For babies at high risk for respiratory diseases – especially in a serious flu year like this one – I think something like this is actually quite appropriate.

  14. why so defensive and judgmental? My 22 month old son was recentlY diagnosed with leukemia and will have 3.5 years of chemo in varying intensities. One of the side effects of chemo is that his germ-fighting cells are destroyed along with his cancer cells. I try to keep a close eye on him, but you would be surprised at how many people come up to him and touch, pat, squeeze, kiss him. In their defense, he is irresistably cute!

    It is even worse when you are a smaller baby and tend to put things in your mouth. A simple low grade fever means a hospital stay and IV antibioltics for these kids.

    As I disinfect his highchairs at restaurants, I sometimes find myself wondering if someone will post my behavior as an outrage of the day. I also sometimes feel this way when my older son plays outside in our front yard by himself.

    Interesting that motherhood seems like a great divider of women. We all have a story. We all want our children to be happy, healthy and good people. We ought to be supporting each other.

  15. Baby on Board signs actually serve a purpose for emergency service personnel. In an accident they know to look for infants and children. I used to think the signs were idiotic until I heard about this.

  16. Remember those “Baby on Board!” signs, that made it seem as if people who were seriously considering crashing into a car would reconsider upon realizing it was carrying someone small?

    I think they were for rescue workers, to make sure they got the baby out of the car – or, if there was no baby in the car, to make sure they searched the surrounding area for a jettisoned child.

    Perfectly sensible, like having a sign on your inside front door about how many people there are in case there’s a fire and the firefighters have to rescue people. It doesn’t hurt you to put it up, and while it’s incredibly unlikely to ever come up, if it DOES come up it’ll do a lot of good for a minimum of cost.

  17. I have to say, even though I’m not worried about germs I still couldn’t stand it when all kinds of strangers thought it was ok to touch and kiss my baby’s hands and face. She’s a person, not a doll – back off and respect her personal space! So I might be tempted to use that sign, though the explanation isn’t in line with my primary issue.

  18. I do think the sign is ridiculous, as it not just made for the small percentage of children that do not need protection. Also, I don’t think the kind of people that touch strange children are going to read this sign before doing so! Especially because they made it look sort of cute. They’ll probably think it’s a toy.

  19. For a targeted need, such as immunity issues, the sign is not appropriate. It would be more appropriate to say something like “I have immunity issues, thanks for taking care.” Not “you are germy, get away from my precious self.”

    When it comes to a newborn, I would hope that people would know better than to come in close contact without the parents’ explicit invitation. It seems almost instinctual to me to keep a respectful distance from such a young baby, and I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of people crowding around newborns in my 43 years of existence.

  20. I think the message the sign conveys is important for some children, and for some adults. I’ve known a couple Mommies who didn’t use a sign and I wish they would because instead, they bite people’s heads off if they reach for or touch the baby – and I know other mothers who feel guilty because when they ask someone not to touch they get a guilt trip about “how was I supposed to know that?”

    So I think they have a place – not in my life, but in some lives – but THIS sign is awful and nasty. It guilt trips, as you say, and it’s pretentious and just weird. Something simple like “Please ask before touching” or “Please don’t touch me – I have special needs!” or the like would be more polite (and the latter one might even get more people to not touch).

  21. I was in a mall the other day and a mother approached the rental strollers looking very conflicted and anxious. When she finally decided to take one she took out a disinfecting wipe and wiped the whole thing down. Mean time, my kids eating crackers from the floor that got “cleaned” by a quick wipe on my jeans.

  22. Why do people need signs for telling people to not touch their baby? That’s kind of cold. How about, if you don’t want strangers touching your baby because of the germ issue, why not just say so politely to that person.

  23. Or, instead of paying the $7.99 for it, why don’t people just make their own. A LOT CHEAPER!!!!! People have to BUY everything nowadays for them to feel satisfied.

  24. Interesting how the comments that are criticizing the sign, assume it was a mother who is pushing the stroller (not a father or other caregiver). The positive comments use more neutral terminology, such as “parents.”

    Can we all stop criticizing mothers? This destructive viewpoint that mothers are to blame for everything (too protective, not protective enough, too involved, not involved enough, etc) has completely permeated our culture and prevents us for supporting each other. I believe every parent is doing the best job they know how to do, given the support systems they have in place. Let’s work on improving the support systems, starting with ourselves and how we treat each other.

  25. If I ever encountered a mother pushing a stroller with that sign hanging off it, I would make it a point to sneeze, cough, and splutter as much as possible, as close as I could get.

  26. If it were just for the parents with “fragile” children, but check out this post from a mom with what seem like perfectly healthy children. She’s planning to hang one around her 2-year-old’s neck at Disneyland. Sheesh. I think this is what the negative comments are aimed at:


  27. @Amanda Possibly because many people don’t ASK. This is something Miss Manners (the column) has commented on a few times, there are people who seem to believe babies (and weirdly sometimes pregnant women) are communal possessions to be cuddled, touched, bounced etc. While I find the sign sort of silly, I can understand getting wigged out by having strangers pick up your baby without your permission.

  28. “I think they were for rescue workers, to make sure they got the baby out of the car – or, if there was no baby in the car, to make sure they searched the surrounding area for a jettisoned child.”

    I think a huge majority of people using or seeing a Baby On Board sign were completely unaware of this philosophy. For example, I have never heard it before these comments.

    And while I see the utility of these signs for a specific subset of particularly fragile infants, the vast majority of babies are not that endangered. I’ll bet that its use vastly outstrips its need.

  29. Sign hanging around wife’s neck:

    “Please don’t breed with me – I am prone to be a hypersensitive, overbearing, hovering, overprotective, and easily pushed into buying unnecessary products mother.”

    Sign around husband’s neck:

    “Please don’t breed with me either – I am prone to be a sexual predator with any child under the age of 18, and am unable to clean up simple messes without the aid of a woman.”

    /sarcasm off

    *sigh* Yes. If you have a preemie and are unable to speak, this sign is just the right thing for you. Problem is, I highly doubt they are marketing it to just that audience and, as someone said above, would appear to be another one of those products to show you how crappy of a parent you are without it. Ugh.

  30. I don’t think it’s an issue of just preemies. I can assure you that normally I am not the least bit paranoid. That being said, my second child was hospitalized 4 times in the first three months of his life because of (probably viral) high fevers. Did you know that each time a child under 12 weeks presents with a fever over 100.5*s that child is subjected to a spinal tap to rule out meningitis? I’ll tell you, it was so completely traumatic that when I had my third child I would have papered him with signs like that if I thought it would help keep people and their germs away from him. People are way to handsy with babies who are not their own.

  31. Re: the Baby on Board signs, the problem with saying, “Oh, but they were for rescue workers!!” is that 90% of the time one saw those signs on a car out on the road, there was no baby in the car. Parents put the sign up, then just left it in the car whether they had their baby with them or not. They were all over the freeways during commute hours, for example, and the parking lots of large employers in industrial parks were littered with them. I certainly hope rescue workers soon learned not to waste their time beating the bushes for a jetisoned baby just because of that sign. :/

    Those signs were just obnoxious, and they ticked me off back then even though I don’t drive. It was 1) the assumption that everyone was a horrible driver, but would instantly get better if they saw the sign (and come on, you know that was the selling point), and 2) the fact that when most of the signs are lying anyway, it becomes a huge mass-incident of crying wolf, with the usual result of people ignoring the message even when it was true, making the whole thing pointless on top of obnoxious.

    The problem with the “Your Germs Are Too Big For Me” sign is that the most obvious impression on the reader is that it’s there becaused the baby is a baby, not because the baby has a depressed immune system. Trying to keep all germs away from all babies is clearly futile as well as counterproductive, so the sign looks like just another case of the Hysterical Parent Industry trying to make a buck by terrifying people.

    If your kid has immune problems, how about a sign that says, “Depressed Immune System, Please Don’t Touch”? I’ll grant you it’s not as cutesy-wootsy as the original, but it’s more accurate and more to the point, and several orders of magnitude less annoying.


  32. “Great shower gift”

    (That’s from the store selling the sign – not me). There is no mention of special needs of any type as a reason why the sign might be useful – so generally speaking I agree that this is a “sign” of helicopter parenting being far too mainstream.

  33. That is hilarious! I have to admit it drives me nuts when people I don’t know try to touch my newborn baby (more like kiss, a foot squeeze is fine).

  34. On a purely selfish note, I wouldn’t want to discourage people from looking in our pram. In this part of Scotland it’s traditionally thought good luck to give a small baby money. Some people hand it to you with an explanation and a smile, at other times I’ve got back from the supermarket to find a crisp fiver tucked down the side of the baby blanket and realized it must have been left by the little old lady who had bent down to pat my little laddy. I was a bit freaked out first, but the money in the “lucky baby money” jar got to nearly £50!
    People would have been pretty insulted by the sign and I would have come across as a rude, ignorant English woman.

  35. The baby on board signs are not for rescue workers: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/parental/babysign.asp

  36. A bit overboard, true, but when my child was a baby, I really didn’t want people just going up to her and touching her like she was public property (esp. the old ladies who feel it’s their prerogative to go chucking chins of chubby infants!) I’d usually give a polite ‘thanks’ when being told what a cute baby I had, and maneuver the stroller away a bit. I wasn’t worried about germs or stranger danger as much as I was about having my space being invaded.

    If it was a matter of avoiding germs (for a baby with health issues), I’d probably have stayed away from places where she’d be at harm, or just nicely tell people not to play/touch my child if they were sick (meaning family/friends, or just avoid them if they were).

    The whole germaphobe thing is a bit much. I don’t carry around sanitizer like other moms, and my 6 y.o. appears to be one of the more healthy children that I know. She was in daycare since 3 mos. of age, and despite a tough first year (colds/ear infections/various other illnesses – none life-threatening), came out fine. So did a lot of her fellow classmates. Yet many other parents I know have kids who are sick at the drop of a hat.

    And for the record, I would also feel the same way if I had a dog and someone came up to pet it without asking.

  37. I didn’t like strangers coming up and touching my babies, not really because of any germs they might have, but because my babies didn’t really like to be touched by anybody they didn’t know, especially my youngest. I like the idea, because so many people think it is perfectly alright to just come up and touch another person’s child without asking. That I have a problem with. I think they could have used different wording though.

    At one point we actually did make up a sign for my daughters stroller. She had severe reflux and when she got upset she would projectile vomit. She didn’t like being touched by strangers so, that would make her upset, so we made a sign, mostly to warn people so they didn’t get thrown up on.

  38. I think my view on this sign would depend on how it’s being distributed. For example, if it’s being marketed to hospitals to give to the parents of that small subset of children who it’s been rightly pointed out have real health concerns, then it could be a valuable tool. If it’s sold in baby safety stores, that’s another kettle of fish entirely.

  39. There have been thousands of generations of babies born before that sign, often touched by non-family. How is it possible any of them survived?

  40. When my daughter was about 6 months old we went out for breakfast, and the waitress (who had been handling food and money – gross!) was moving in to touch the baby’s face, and I snapped, “Careful! She bites!!” and she pulled her hand back in horror.

    It was hysterical.

    I’m going to have to disagree with you on this one… It’s OBNOXIOUS when strangers touch my babies. I’ve seen people cough or sneeze into their hand, then notice the baby a moment later and come in to touch them. Um… no. I’m all for being friendly, and I’ll talk to whoever in the grocery store line, and I never caution my kids against talking to strangers (although we have had other talks about their “private body” and who is allowed to touch them – Mom and Dad when we help them go potty – and who isn’t – everyone else). But no one should touch a stranger’s baby (or BELLY for that matter, before the baby comes out!)

    We live in a very multicultural midwestern city – there’s a Big 10 University just down the street that has more international students than any other school in the country. In a lot of their cultures, it’s perfectly ok to touch a stranger’s baby. Welcome to America, where it’s not. Keep your mitts off my kid.

    If you wouldn’t come up and rub the cheek of a strange adult, why is it acceptable to do it to a baby?

    I wouldn’t use this sign, because I’m assertive enough to tell a waitress that my baby bites…. but if I weren’t assertive? Yeah, I’d consider the sign. Although I never carried my babies around in their carseats (that habit drives me INSANE – the carseat weighs 3x more than the baby – just CARRY THE BABY!!!). I had various slings and carriers, and unless the baby was asleep when we arrived somewhere, I’d pull them out of the seat and into the carrier. Their proximity to my chest when they were in the carrier prevented most unwanted touching.

  41. I think the baby on board signs did start because a family lost a child, that first responders didn’t know to look for in an accident.

    This reminded me of something else. My sister has a small sticker on the front door issued by the fire department that says this house has 3 children and 2 dogs (outside/garage). Then there are stickers on windows in all three kids’ rooms. She has been criticized by friends and family for “Making her kids targets of kidnappers”.

    She and BIL have shot back that stranger kidnappings are rare and they have an alarm system (more about keeping the 2 little sleepwalkers in the house than people out but they didn’t bring that up). The kids are more likely to be injured by an accident at home. Sis and I both also have a heighten fear of fire, because our father suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns in a house fire.

  42. I think this sign belongs on passiveagressivenotes.com, but maybe it’s just me.

    Look, if your child has breathing issues or a weakened immune system, that’s fine – and in such a case, you are perfectly justified in using a grown-up voice and telling someone that straight up.

    But for someone who’s just a plain ol’ germaphobe, this is ridiculous. The blog writer even said herself “sometimes the germs just win.” Yep, and we get sick, and then we get over it. And then we’re stronger next time.

    I’m sure she’s also the kind that likes to blame herself if her kid gets sick, and vows to use a stronger antibiotic the next time. Thanks for the superbugs, lady!

  43. I was looking for a zipper-dangle version for older kids to wear to school. “By sweetie, have a great day at school! And if anyone touches you, please be sure to cough directly in their face.”

  44. Who touches random babies without asking first? Is a sign really necessary to keep people from touching your kid?

  45. I LOVE it! Germ paranoia, stranger anxiety and xenophobia all wrapped up in one handy sign!

  46. The only reason I’d like to use this sign is keep strangers from touching my child. Some people don’t think to ask first before reaching into a stroller and pinching the cheeks of an infant they don’t even know. (Something I learned not to do when I was, oh, ten years old.)

  47. When my girl was a baby we lived in the core of downtown Seattle. We would take her for walks and almost every day at least one street alcoholic would shove his face into the stroller and make baby talk (or maybe it was just slurred speech) at her. She’s rarely been sick and when she is she gets over it quickly. I consider it a gift from the hobos!!

  48. I love it, love it, love it when people talk to my kids and interact with them. LOVE IT. I then encourage my children to respond. Shocking, yet true! I firmly believe it is called “being social” and I want my children to grow up knowing how to meet and greet people. Furthermore, many old folks maybe do not have grandchildren or little ones around any longer in their lives. I enjoy sharing mine when we are in public.

    If there are times when they are sick, etc I just politely tell folks that now is not a good time for them to get too close because the kiddos are still kicking a cold. And that is it. There is no need for a sign.

    Why the hell is there now a need for what is essentially a passive-aggressive sign? If you don’t want your child touched, then just say so! It is going to be a long, long life for you if you can’t take 2 seconds to stand up for your child NOW.

    Furthermore, some of these folks make it sound like little old grannies are pushing aside their walkers in a rush to get to to our children, swooping into their faces while we stand helplessly to the side. The nerve of perfect strangers trying to show affection. Rude!

    These posts really make me sad. Just sad.

  49. Has anyone else seen the parody of the “Baby On Board” signs in the Uglydoll books? Their signs say “Baby is Bored.” As soon as those are made in real life, I’m getting one.

  50. what amanda said

  51. Wow, as usual there are a lot of defensive parents posting here.

    Look, if you have an immunocompromised kid, you obviously need to take extra precautions when taking them out in the world. But if you don’t (and of course, most people don’t), then this sort of germaphobic behavior is nuts. And passive-aggressive. Don’t want someone to touch your baby? Tell them so. Or better yet, just wear them in a sling or carrier – most people won’t reach in that close to a strange adult, and if they do, it’s easy enough to stop them.

  52. What’s the point of a sign like that. You wouldn’t touch someone without their permission — simply good manners. It’s no different with babies. You don’t touch them with their parent’s permission — no signs needed.

  53. Eh, people are too touchy sometimes. Like when you’re pregnant and total strangers grab your belly? Well, right now it’s winter and there’s lots of viruses going around. Lots of flu, and in my area, lots of RSV. My newborn’s pediatrician says 5 babies in her practice ended up in the hospital from RSV in the past few months, so I’m being more cautious than I was with my first two. I’m not a big fan of stuffy noses and breathing problems in 4 week old babies.

    Would I hang that tag up? Nah. But I’d understand why someone would, if they know touchtouchy people. 😀

  54. Before superbugs and swine flu even I hated that every tom, dick and martha had to touch my baby. Friends and family felt it was perfectly acceptable to let the baby suckle their pinky finger and strangers with tissues in their hands and tucked into the sleeve of their sweaters would come, zoom in close to my babies and grab … not their toes, but of the course their fingers which go directly into their mouths.

    yes germs and bacteria as part of normal living and roaming in this world are important for kids and I was never a “get rid of the dog let’s super hygiene” the house kind of mom and I’m still not (even after having a superbug). That being said, I don’t think a baby’s hands need to be as germ-filled as the pole on the merry go round or the ATM pad. And neither do we. The amount of people that don’t wash their hands after they pick their nose, cough into their hand, or take a pee means that phobic or not, some germs don’t need to be shared and I resented that my babies were deemed public property. Strangers wouldn’t come and start looking in my purse or touch my face, why would they feel they could grab at my kid?

  55. Well, actually I hated it, when complete strangers (or our obnoxius neighbor) leaned over the stroller and touched my kids… But for other reasons than germs… I just thought it was completely invasive (is that the right word?). I mean, would you like a complete a stranger to walk up to you and touch you?

    This germ sign, however, is absolutely silly and absolutely embarrassing for the parent, who actually puts it on the stroller.

    So long,

  56. Apparently, you all birthed babies in very different places with much ruder people than I where I lived when my child was a baby. I had an occasional stranger touch my baby but for the most part people respected her space. I seem to recall one mentally-challenged grocery store employee that liked to touch my daughter who bugged me because she was relentless and I couldn’t get my shopping done, but otherwise, who cares. If baby didn’t mind, I didn’t mind. If baby started fussing, the problem usually resolved itself by the person walking away.

    But then again I was a single mother of a collicky baby so I spent 90% of her first 6 months holding her. If anyone, friend or total stranger, actually wanted to give my arms a break for a few minutes, I was happy to let them.

  57. Just a small point to make here: the sign can carry germs. Unless you plan on disinfecting it every day you’re just putting a giant germ magnet next to your kid’s head.

    …And does anyone know why there’s a paw print on it? I know a few babies who howl like puppies, but that doesn’t mean they’re not human!

  58. “I mean, would you like a complete a stranger to walk up to you and touch you?”

    No, but then I wouldn’t like a lot of things that babies really seem to love! I think a baby that has been used to a lot of interaction actually appreciates it. Judging baby’s likes by your own probably isn’t accurate. 🙂 That doesn’t mean it’s wise to permit it, but I wouldn’t assume the baby doesn’t like it, just because you don’t.

    I do appreciate, however, that people consider it rude to handle their babies without asking, and I would never do so (unless I was “rescuing” the distressed baby of a friend, or some such thing.) Still, I think this is an example of answering rudeness with rudeness. Passive-aggressive is a good word for it. But I’m fairly old school in my approach to manners, I guess.

  59. As a formerly germaphobic mother, I can totally see the draw to such a tag. But after the second, third and fourth kid, I find myself welcoming anyone who will entertain my child out in public.

  60. Babies are *meant* to draw attention – it’s what is supposed to keep them safe. Same with their very irritating cries – it’s to get their needs met.

    I never EVER had issues with people wanting a peek at my baby, or touching, or anything. I was always surprised at how absolutely horrified new parents would be at some stranger – whom they had no problem being out in public with at a street fair or the train or the bus or a restaurant or wherever – wanting a peek and a touch of a sweet, soft, precious baby.

    A baby makes most people smile. It brings back their own memories of their children. It spurs on the biological clock in other women. Babies are good for the soul, to see the innocence and new life and flat-out HOPE a baby brings.

    So, touch away, coo, sing, baby talk at her. If it bothers her, she’ll cry, and I will soothe. But I’m not hiding her away in public as if the rest of the world is somehow unworthy of her.

    If my child were compromised in some way, I’d say so. “Oh, please, I don’t want to sound rude, but she’s a preemie and has some issues that we’re waiting for her to grow out of, so look but don’t touch, please?” And then you get sympathy for such a wee thing having such a rough time.

  61. As someone said, motherhood divides, sometimes internally. I was always pleased that people kept a caring eye on my kids at the same time as I was irritated by people insisting he/she should be wearing a hat/booties/whatever. My youngest was little early and there were some breathing issues, so I wasn’t 100% happy about people I didn’t know diving into the pram for some up close and personal with her.

    Certain things make you public property and going out with a baby is one (or pregnant). And since my kids have now transitioned into the age group where people think they are no longer Public Property but Public Enemy, I have discovered that walking a dog will get you lots of new friends.

    Ice breakers, little people or little beasties are social icebreakers. . . .

  62. I am quite surprised by the amount of “I don’t want people touching my baby” comments on here. Yes, people can be germy. Yes, some babies have compromised immune systems, but the AVERAGE person and the AVERAGE baby do not need some cutesy-tootsy (and as the last poster so perfectly pointed out- passive aggressive) sign to ward off strangers. A “keep away” sign on an ill child is is a VERY good idea, but that’s not what this product is. It’s a mass-marketed money-maker. I think it’s a sign of the times (and frankly, the dissolution of community as family) that so many people are getting testy about others wanting to touch their cute babies.

    I’ve raised 4 children, and YES, I know it gets a tad annoying when everyone you pass wants to pinch and oggle your cute baby, especially when you are stressed out from parenthood in general need a nap yourself. But THAT’S WHAT HUMANS DO- they care for each other, especially the newest members of our species. Oh wait… that’s what humans USED TO DO.

    Sorry for the attitude, but I’m quite miffed by this thread of comments.

  63. Great, now I won’t be able to lick every baby I see while strolling through the mall. Damn you Warning Labels for Infants Industry! Seriously, if a baby is immunocompromised why is the parent even taking the child out in public where
    there is a host of bacteria on everything and everyone? What’s next plastic bubble strollers?

  64. Diane said, “Seriously, if a baby is immunocompromised why is the parent even taking the child out in public where
    there is a host of bacteria on everything and everyone?”

    It’s this attitude right here that’s the problem. People assume that if the parent has the AUDACITY to take her child out in public, then that child is somehow community property.

    I won’t walk up to you and chuck your chin, or stroke your cheek. I won’t grab your fingers (with the hands I just sneezed on). I won’t get in your face and talk to you in annoying high pitched tones. I give you this courtesy because we are strangers and you have the right not to be pawed by me. Please give the same courtesy to my child.

    I know babies are cute. I happen to have especially cute children (check the name of my blog). Learn to control yourself or get your own. Or make a friend and touch her baby. It is inappropriate in the extreme to touch mine if you don’t know us.

    Obviously you don’t have your own children. If you did, you would know that there is nothing more isolating than having a newborn, and that telling mothers to “just stay at home” is NOT helpful.

    The fact that there are so many commenters here who think it’s just fine for people to touch a stranger’s baby proves the need for a sign like this. My kid is not your ice breaker, and I’m going to skip the treatise on how offensive it is that you’ve compared her to a puppy.

    Unless you’re going to come over and wipe her nose, clean up her vomit, and stay up all night with her, not to mention clean the carpets and the blankets when she pukes everywhere, and end with probably becoming sick yourself, shut UP. YOU do NOT get to choose whether or not a risk is acceptable for MY family.

  65. @Melissa: Amen. Just… amen.

    @Amy: I agree to a point but after that – it gets ridiculous. Seriously. Here’s the difference:

    THIS sign on THIS post is meant for helicopter parents. Not people with children/babies with suppressed immune systems. It’s easy to tell by something that was said perfectly above: If it was meant for suppressed immune system babies, the sign would say, “Please don’t touch me, I have a suppressed immune system.”

    No – I don’t believe mothers of compromised babies should stay home. You all have to shop and run errands just like the rest of us. But to defend this particular sign as necessary because other people have compromised children as well is ludicrous. It’s like defending SUV’s because they’re bigger and thus must be safer for babies in an accident and the proof is in how many soccer moms buy them. There is no correlation. Nor is there one with people buying something so ridiculous as not to be very specific. If you had a dangerous dog in your house would you put up a sign on the door that said, “I have a dog,” or one that said, “Beware of dog?” I think I know the answer.

  66. Ugh…lame, sorry. And this is coming from a mom of a preemie who had a compromised immune system. We stayed home for a while but when we had to go out, I carried him in a sling. I used the stroller later, but I wouldn’t have put one of these stickers on it. Yuck.

  67. Diane,
    I can die if someone touches me with peanut residue on their hands. I once got a blistered hand print on my shoulder when my Dad put his hand out to keep me from running into him. I was wearing a sleeved shirt, but he had just used that Lava Soap on his hand. I’ve reacted more times that I can count because someone used hand lotion with something I’m allergic to and then touched me.

    What were my parents supposed to do – keep me locked up till I died? No they were proactive. They told people they couldn’t touch me. They taught me to be forceful with adults who tried to make me eat something with peanuts or tried to touch me after handling something I was allergic to.

    They taught me to put my hands up, palm out if something was wrong. Both as as signal to the other person to back off and a signal to the whole family that something was wrong. More than once in public places not only my parents, but aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins raced to protect me. Poor lady trying to convince me to have my face painted must have felt attacked. On my side though she should have taken my 7 yo no as a NO.

    All of this started with them modeling behavior for me.

    I agree with the posters that say no one has the right to touch a a stranger regardless of age. My nephew is 2 yo, I always ask him and his sister (5) if I can pick them up. Not every time if we are running around playing, but I don’t just lift them off their feet in the normal course of daily life.

    He told his mom he didn’t like some other family members. She asked why. He said They don’t ask, Aunt Kimbee asks. The only thing she can figure out is they walk in and sweep him up and refuse to put him down. He has now figured out if he kicks in certain areas they put him down.

  68. I know I don’t like people touching my child, and remember just how many people DID touch him when he was a baby makes me wish I had known about this when he was an infant. So I disagree-I like the sign. Don’t touch my kid.

  69. For all the posters who think that strangers don’t touch babies, and therefore you don’t need a sign: You are wrong. Strangers touch babies ALL THE TIME. It’s obnoxious and rude. Sadly, the only way to deal with it is to get up in their faces or post a passive-agressive sign. Or, I guess you could post an agressive-agressive sign. “Don’t touch my kid: It pisses me off.”

  70. I think this sign is obnoxious, but I would have paid good money for it when my twins were under 2 months old! I could not bring myself to stay house-bound until they had gotten their first set of shots, and I was more than happy to pass them around to friends and family, but I was appalled at the number of people I had never met who thought nothing of coming up and manhandling my kids. I finally learned the fine art of body-blocking. While I think that many parents are WAAAAAAYYYYY too worried about germs, I can’t bring myself to judge in this instance, as there may be legitimate reasons behind its use.

  71. Wow, It’s not like your baby is THAT special to a stranger. There are babies all over the place everywhere and every day. I think sometimes the older women are just trying to be nice to YOU by admiring your baby. They may have no idea how much it is pissing you off if they touch your baby. You may as well gently tell them that you are concerned about colds, etc, since some of them probably have no idea as this may not have been such a phobia a generation ago (or there’s the cultural thing, too). I have 3 kids, and when they were babies I never minded strangers talking to them, smiling at them, interacting with them, even touching them occasionally.

  72. Wasn’t “Baby on Board” was meant for the offchance there was an accident whoever comes to help and sees it would check the back seat for a child? (reason why my hubby and I put it on our car).

    Ah well, that sign….honestly, having had random people thought they could just stick their faces in his stroller just because he’s cute….well….they should have a sign that says “Bugger off, I am not your monkey” LOL.Almost punched an old woman, I turn to take something off a store shelf, turn back and I just see an arm in his baby carrier. Silly sign, but some people lack complete common sense.

  73. I wish I had a sign for my daughter’s stroller, perhaps: “Baby Carries No Cash.”

  74. I like the idea (referenced above) of the aggressive-aggressive sign. “Don’t touch my kid; it pisses me off.” That is actually far more respectful than the condescending “your germs are too big for me.”

    I would never touch another person’s newborn without being invited, but I’d at least smile at the mom. If I saw a sign making a presumption about both my germiness and my stupidity about a newborn’s need for space, I would not be smiling in that direction.

  75. Browsing what’s written here it seems like ‘germs’ are a sort of proxy for the people who carry them.

    Some of us see our fellows as basically on our side, to be trusted, depended-upon, okay to have up close.

    Some of us see our fellows as threats to our well-being and that of our children, carries of disease and sources of contamination.


  76. @Catherine: I have to respectfully disagree. I personally believe more people are good, or at least mean to be good, than bad. My husband and I are raising our twin boys (now 2 1/2) to view people as allies, not enemies, and certainly not something to be feared. We encourage them to say hello to people, and to shake hands, and do not particularly worry about germs (these are kids who, for whatever reason, like to taste the rocks from our parking lot). That being said, some people have NO common sense. Perhaps it is because my boys are identical twins, and therefore viewed as exotic, but the number of people who would walk up and touch them on the face when they were OBVIOUSLY newborns was insane. I did not have the luxury of carrying both of them strapped to my chest or in a sling. There were 2 of them, and 1 of me, my husband had to go pretty much straight back to work, and errands had to be run. And let me tell, you, some of those people were quick! I’d reach for a jug of milk, turn around, and find some person patting my kids’ faces. We had to contend with a pustular staph infection, RSV, rotovirus, you name it. While that is no big deal these days, each of those things can easily be life-threatening to an infant who is only a few weeks or months old. While I will be eternally grateful to all of those strangers who held doors for me, carried packages for me, and were otherwise the epitome of thoughtfulness and kindness; I will likewise be eternally ungrateful to those who unduly added to the stress (and medical expenses) of a new mother by behaving in an inappropriate fashion and not bothering to stop and think whether touching my 3-week old babies’ lips with their hands might not be such a great idea.

  77. I just found this site recently and was enjoying it, but posts like this one just seem sort of callous and overly-sensational ( Is any adult really going to feel dirty and depressed when seeing this sign?)

    I understand the sentiment, and I absolutely love poking fun at things. I also get that it is another product that doesn’t need to exist for the mass population. I get that while I could have actually been helped by a sign like this (my daughter had a liver transplant at 8 months old), the product probably wasn’t made with my situation in mind.

    But I don’t get why people feel the need to judge so harshly. We don’t the know the lives of those that pass us by. So we can see someone put up a sign or pull out the sanitizer and we can dismiss them as paranoid and crazy, or we can choose to remember that we don’t know anything but the surface, and just be thankful that whatever the motivation behind the “offensive” situation might be, we do not know it or have to live it and we can continue on with respect and kindness.

  78. I never liked strangers touching my child. She didn’t have immunity issues and I’m not the antibacterial-obsessed type. I just don’t like people touching my kid, and I never understood why strangers feel the need to do so. It makes me uncomfortable, and it’s hard to say “don’t touch” without being impolite or offending the stranger or coming off as crazy-uptight. I have no problem with people telling me they think she’s cute or even talking to her. I just don’t know why they think they can/should/need to touch her (same goes for pregnant bellies). It’s a personal boundaries issue for me, I suppose. What is gained from that touch? Nothing. So then why do it?

    That said, I wouldn’t go as far as sticking a sign on myself or stroller or child, but I can understand why some people would feel the need for it.

  79. Lenore, Lenore, oh dear Lenore….


    Yeah, apparently a man can’t take a picture of HIS OWN CHILD ALONE without being accused of being Pedobear.

  80. @melissa: I never minded people taking a peek at my babies, and I certainly wasn’t scared of germs, but I did mind when people treated the babies as some kind of public property that they could touch as they pleased. Especially with a new born there were occasions when people actually got so close that _I_ felt uncomfortable. And there were occasions, when parents with toddlers came along, picked their toddlers up and let them grab at the baby. People I didn’t even know. For some reason, and don’t ask me why, just a feeling, I didn’t mind as much, if people asked.

    The problem I see with this sign is that it encourages parents (who maybe are insecure as it is their first kid or whatever) to be overly protective — and then where does it stop? Not to mention that for the most part, it does more harm than good to protect kids from germs. And I seriously doubt that it was designed for newborns with a compromised immune system, but merely for making money.

    So long,

  81. ****when people actually got so close that _I_ felt uncomfortable****

    I mean, they moved in on us so close, that even I didn’t have any more space left, and I doubt that they would have felt comfortable if that had happened to them, especially if it had been a complete stranger.

    Someone mentioned that babies are meant to draw attention, it’s part of their protection. On the other hand, mothers are supposed to protect their kids, so it probably is a defense mechanism to not like strangers touching the babies.

    @amy: I don’t think we need a sign, it’s perfectly okay to just tell people. Plus, if you wanted a sign than be honest about it and let it say: I do not want strangers touching my child. But this is ridiculous.

    So long,

  82. Amy,

    Chill out. I’d never compare puppies to babies. Puppies are much cuter. Although random babies I see in public do taste better than puppies when I lick them.

  83. The thing about these “chill out” comments is that they do not seem to take into account the fact that the general public, by exhibiting about the same level of impulse control as the infant they are touching, is basically forcing a new, and (likely) sleep-deprived mom into the position of having to make a split-second decision of whether to be rude or just let people touch her infant. Most of the women here are specific that it was when their child(ren) were very young (and likely not yet immunized) that they felt most uncomfortable.

    I would also like to point out that my husband rarely, if ever, had to contend with the touching thing. When looking at all of the comments here, he told me people always ASKED him instead of just reaching into the stroller when he took the twins out solo, which was completely counter to my own experience.

  84. “I just found this site recently and was enjoying it, but posts like this one just seem sort of callous and overly-sensational”

    Me too– I agree with a ton of “free range” ideas but the attitude on this site, both in the posts and in many comments, is just snarky. I don’t need the hostile flames of the mommy wars fanned in my direction. With regret, I’m signing off.

  85. This is weird. I always thought of it the other way around, where kids spread germs to the adults. I am currently suffering from a cold that I picked up from my friend’s kid.

  86. I realize I’m saying much the same as many posters… So I apologize for the redundancy… But I do think there’s a lot of validity to signs similar to those. Now, the exact one pictured here is phrased in a way I don’t love…
    (One that I prefer says, “Please wash your hands before touching mine.”)

    But I don’t think it’s going too far nor being “un-Free-Range” to request that strangers not just reach out and touch your baby.

    Because they do. I know that Allison, above, questioned whether or not anyone really touches babies without asking – and, maybe my circumstances were entirely unique, but I can assure her that random strangers came up and touched my babies (now 3 and 5) ALL the time. Stroked their hair… Reached for their hands… Caressed their faces. ALL THE TIME! And rarely was I ever consulted before folks came up and began petting my children.

    It was always with good intentions – I mean, I have cute kids. ;o) And no, I’m not some freaky germ-a-phobe who keeps everyone in a bubble. My girls eat food off the floor, pet our dogs with wild abandon and then don’t wash before playing or eating, go crazy at bounce houses and ball pits, etc. But after a day at preschool or at the children’s museum – where nothing is off-limits and everything is touched and climbed upon – we absolutely wash hands or use hand sanitizer before eating.

    To keep a baby in a bubble? Absurd. But it’s also pretty damn scary to have an infant contract RSV and have to be hospitalized (I know from experience), and sometimes even a common cold can be nerve-wracking when you’re watching your baby struggle to breathe. Yes, germs BUILD immunity. And I think it’s critical to get children, even babies, out into the world and exposed to germs.

    But I’m just not crazy about strangers approaching my babe and touching them – partially for the germ factor, and partially for the Um, Hello, Don’t Be a Creep factor. As a new mom, perhaps I *should* have felt more comfortable telling other folks to back off my babe. But, frankly, as exhausted and frazzled as I was, it would have been awfully nice to have a little sign do the talking for me.

  87. Speaking of licking kids – I’ve got a very well socialized 40-pound rescue street mutt who loves and is totally trustworthy around kids. A few weeks ago at our community garden, a friend of mine showed up with her kids, who Spot had never met. One of her boys – ten or so – has a pretty severe case of ADHD, public meltdowns and all. Spot went nuts – in a very sweet way – with this kid – totally ignoring the other kids to do play-posture dance and kiss-lunge (“nose tag”) with my friend’s kid, to both his and his mom’s delight. Yesterday another gardener stopped by with her neighbor’s kid who is about the same age and is high-function autistic. Sweet kid, but obviously a bit different. Exact same behavior from Spot – very gentle but very energetic and totally focused on making the boy laugh with glee. I’ve read that dolphin researchers swear that if you put four average kids and one with Down’s syndrome or on a Make a Wish trip in a pool with socialized dolphins they will focus on the special-needs kid. Am I nuts, or can my dog tell a kid that needs extra attention?

  88. I had a sign. Slightly different though – “Please wash your hands before touching mine.” Not rude. Not passive aggressive. I don’t mind people playing with my baby, but just a gentle reminder for the first few months to think of where their hands have been. People are supposed to wash up before they eat, why not before they touch my newborn?

  89. This is the note I sent the company…

    I am glad you are providing a product that some people want, but I am sad that everyone is so scared of people interacting with their children, even if it involves a tickle on the tummy or a pat on the head. I have a 14 month old and have never interacted with strangers as much as I do now and I love it. He loves the attention too.

    My son is a joy and I am delighted when people get to share in the joy. Seeing a baby helps you put your problems in perspective and I think these signs are a drag on that. He loves to flirt with strangers, especially grandma-types and I see how happy they are to get a smile from a cute little toe-headed kiddie. We are out and about all the time and rarely does anyone ever touch my son

  90. Amy and kherbert,

    I’m not advocating people going up to babies and slobbering all over them. Get a freaking grip! Germs and bacteria are everywhere. Children cannot be protected from the world around them. They are going to get sick and put less than pristine objects in their mouths no matter how vigilant their parents are. I object to the types of parents who think that their children are so precious that everyone around them must make special accommodations. If you don’t want someone touching or talking to your child then speak up. And as far as not knowing children, Amy, I happen to be the mother of an 11 year old girl and I’ve been a nanny for over 20 years. I’ve taken care of well over 100 children from newborn premature twins to school age so don’t tell me I don’t know about children.

  91. You baby maulers are missing the point entirely.

    My child is not here to entertain you. She is not meant to provide a reminder of your own childhood, the babyhood of your children, or to put your problems in perspective. It is not her job to give you someone to coo at, a cheek to stroke, or a finger to hold. She is not an ice breaker. If I want to break the ice with you, I’ll initiate a conversation. If you want to break the ice with me, talk to ME. Or talk to her from a respectful distance.

    My child is a person with rights, one of which is the right to be in public without being pawed at by strangers. Unless you think it’s perfectly acceptable to go up to a random adult stranger and stroke her hair (something that happens to my adorable curly-haired daughter ALL the time), in which case you have boundary issues that need addressing.

    Do not treat my child like some sort of accessory, like a pet, or like public property. Do not give me unwanted advice about her clothing or her health – neither of which are any of your concern. Do not pretend that you know more about my family and our needs than I know, simply because you may or may not have raised a family at some time in the distant past. And for the love of all that is holy, keep your hands off of my pregnant belly. The next time someone touches my pregnant belly I swear to GOD I’m going to grab them – male or female – by the crotch and say, “How do you like it?”

    We are more than happy to talk to you and be friendly and polite with you, but you need to behave appropriately for the level of intimacy between us. In other words, unless you know our names, you do not get to touch. Is that a simple enough rule of thumb for all of you to learn so you can control yourselves?

    Because once you know our names, I probably know you well enough to ask you to please wash your hands, etc. We were sick for the entire month of January. People whose children are grown just do not understand how easily and how often babies and small children get sick, and how it screws up your entire life – often for weeks at a time, even for small illnesses.

    Now of course, if you see her headed into a busy parking lot when my back is momentarily turned, by all means grab her before she gets squashed. I promise to be grateful. But if you don’t know our names, keep your hands to yourself, and I promise that I won’t grab your junk. Ok?

  92. Diane – I am not asking for special accommodations – I am asking that you treat my child, who is a stranger to you, with the same courtesy that you’d treat any adult stranger.

    Your credentials don’t make the behavior of pawing at children with whom you are unacquainted any less rude.

  93. The only thing missing is a translation for whatever language the local ethnic minority speaks…

  94. “We use the alibi of not wanting to spread germs as a deterrent but the truth of the matter is that as parents we really aren’t that keen on anyone other than family members touching our children. ”

    This is from the MamaBear’s website (guess that explains the paw print).

    I’m not sure when we started becoming so uncivilized that we can’t ask to hold/touch a baby and so offended if the parent says no. It’s kind of sad to read some of the posts.

  95. @jim – you are not nuts. My dog Sarah (also a rescue) was the same way. She was great around kids in general – but if there was a special needs child around she would zoom in on her/him and go completely silly. They, in return, adored her.

  96. Amy – “Now of course, if you see her headed into a busy parking lot when my back is momentarily turned, by all means grab her before she gets squashed. I promise to be grateful. But if you don’t know our names, keep your hands to yourself, and I promise that I won’t grab your junk. Ok?”

    The thing is, the more remote you seem in the non-stress times, the more people will hesitate in the emergency. Not that they want your kid to get squashed, but they don’t know where your boundaries are and that little extra time spent second guessing could be crucial.

    I do feel that stress – when people come over and want to touch my kids a little bit of me goes on high alert. And while our family has been out of circulation for the last few weeks with fever and diarrhea I’ve been remembering the stranger on the bus who reached in and stroked one kid’s face the day before she came down with it. Still, I’m trying to be relaxed about it because a) my kid is a person, but unlike me she actually loves attention from strangers, b) if I stress about it less I’m a happier person, and c) most importantly, there’s value in letting people build connections with their fellow humans and touching babies is one way a lot of people do that.

  97. There is a paw print at the bottom of this sign. I wonder if it was actually intended for animals. I know people often use this type of sign at a cat show ~ because people germs are not always great for cats. It seems a little over the top for most babies though.

  98. Oh for chrissakes

  99. I’m lucky– very few people were rude in touching my son; almost always they asked. But people DO touch without asking; though I found it harder to deal with people who were afraid to ask if they could hold my baby!

    I can imagine that there are people who really, really have a family culture of “don’t touch without asking” that would want to emphasize it. I don’t see anything wrong with that, one way or the other.

    Also some germaphobes…. frankly, I lost touch with some friends who kept their 35 week preemies away from all but a small circle of friends for 6 months, ‘until the flu season was over’. I don’t appreciate germaphobes, but I prefer them labelled! Better they should have a sign than keep the kids mewed up for 6 months or more.

  100. I agree with Alexicographer: My daughters were both premature and while I was allowed to be very relaxed with their handling because they were extremely healthy despite it all others would need to be careful. When I took my youngest home it was by bus during a swine flu outbreak (which left me w/o any assistance when the baby came home because the few people I knew who could help either had it or were living in close quarters with people who had it) and I made sure no one handled her (which was easier than it might be since she was bundled up against my husband’s chest in our carrier).

    I also agree it allows for a clear signal from those parents who don’t feel comfortable and means that I won’t stumble into a tensely polite “discussion” with someone who feels my cooing over their baby will kill them. I don’t have to agree with it but I also don’t have to correct or engage with them on it.

  101. For the compromised child, this sign is fine. Appropriate, even.


    It’s not being marketed that way, and that is the point here.

    It’s being marketed to Every. Single. New. Parent. Regardless of the child’s health situation!

    We start seeing this on every stroller, it will not only contribute to the culture of “separateness” that our society seems to keep gravitating to by not interacting with each other, but also – if they become ubiquitous, their meaning and usefulness is completely lost. It becomes “yet another new mom hovering over her child and not allowing them to build their immunities and we wonder why there are so many ill/allergic children these days!”

    If you have a child with immune issues, by all means, use the sign. If you don’t, please don’t use it – allow it to ONLY be used by those who NEED it.

  102. Jenne-In defense of your friends the NICU can shell-shock any parent, especially the first time through. Often times when you get your baby (or babies) home you want nothing more than to hole up and do everything in your power never to go remotely near that place again, no matter how irrational it would have seemed to you before. Just some perspective from a mom that’s been there…twice.

  103. […] Worse Than “Baby on Board!” Hi Readers! Excuse me while I gag. Amazing how one sign can make everyone who passes this stroller feel big, dirty, […] […]

  104. No-one has mentioned the perhaps cultural aspects of this debate. Anglos like their distance, other cultures less so. The most attention my children got was when I was traveling with one or other of them in southern European countries. People from these parts love children, all children and make a lovely fuss of them when they are out and about.

    As something I read said, Anglo culture is very ambivalent, hostile even to children and they are not really welcome in many or most public places (try the ‘crying baby on an airplane’ test if you want to check that). I think when we become parents we become aware at some level of this general dislike of children. Maybe we get so defensive because we know there’s lots of people out there who just plain don’t like our kids because they are kids.

    That said, there are some very annoying parents out there, ones who can make you feel like you and your germ laden kids are a threat to their special precious most important in the whole world babies and children.

    I am thinking of one whose approach to the whole situation was ‘heads my kids win, tails, yours lose’: if my kid took something off hers mine was a bully and should give it back; if hers took something off mine then mine should learn to share type of thing.

    I remember when she had a birthday party for her older child a few weeks after her second was born. Us guests arrived to find the baby surrounded by impenetrable fortifications to make sure no-one else’s toddler breathed on or touched Sacred Infant. Mom spent the entire party fending off children who got to close to the Royal Enclosure.

    Sure did make us all feel welcome, accepted and appreciated.

  105. Amy,

    Since I’ve never touched a child without the express permission of the parent and then only the toes your argument doesn’t hold water. Though you do seem to enjoy jumping to conclusions about other people’s intentions. The reason I listed my credentials was to point out to you that I do know children and that I in fact have a child of my own, therefore, making your assertion that I’m childless and don’t know children another conclusion you made a blind leap at. Also, my original post was not directed at you personally nor the way you raise your children. I couldn’t give a rodent posterior how you raise your children. I was merely stating that the whole protect children at all costs meme has gotten out of hand and if a parent doesn’t want people touching or breathing on, or smiling at, or commenting about their children to use their goddamn voice!

  106. If your baby is a preemie or has a high germ risk, perhaps a sign is not your best precaution?

    For anyone else, the sign just indicates one more set of wishy-washy parents ready to raise their baby to be afraid of the world.

  107. I’d like to add to Catherine’s comment about understanding cultural aspects.

    When my kids were small, we lived in Houston, Texas. My son is blond-haired and blue-eyed and has dimples. He got touched a LOT, especially by people of Hispanic heritage. I mentioned this to a friend and found out that it was a cultural more.

    As I understand it, they would stare at him because he was so striking and unusual. Then, they would worry that they had given him the evil eye and had to touch him to dispel it. Apparently I’m lucky that they respected my cultural differences, because my friend (of Mexican heritage) said her grandmother would insist on pouring concoctions consisting of things like raw eggs on the baby’s head if she believed one in the family had gotten the evil eye.

    All of that being said, their touches were respectful and tended to be a quick one on the head if they could reach it and on the leg or foot otherwise. Very different, but I got used to it.

  108. First of all, I laughed when I read the sign on the stroller. It totally made my day!

    About the “Baby on Board” sign. I thought the reason why people put the sign in their car is to ‘brag’ they were having a baby. I never knew it meant for safety purposes. Now that I know, I will laugh every time I see one on a car!

  109. I guess I’m in the minority as I really don’t mind people touching my babies. I never had anyone pick one up without permission but patting, squeezing, rubbing the head, holding the hand didn’t bother me as long as it didn’t make the baby cry. My children were ever hardly sick and are still very healthy to this day.

  110. Years (and years!) ago, a LOOK magazine cartoon had a small boy dripping mud across the living room floor as he shed all kinds of dirt from his football uniform. The mother, taking it in calmly from the sofa, says to the nearby husband, “Remember when we had to wear masks so we wouldn’t breathe on him?”

    I’ll leave it up to individual parents as to whether s/he is comfortable having their child in close proximity to various strangers. But the health threat? If it’s real, it’s going to arrive from more than just human carriers.

  111. @amy: actually, the more I follow the debate (and when reading your post) I second-guessed my own reasons for not wanting strangers to touch my kids. Someone pointed out, that babies often do not mind and even like the attention of strangers — and, yes, I thought, maybe this whole debate is much more about the mothers feeling violated than about the babies… Just a thought.

    I really do think that signs like these are much more for encouraging (insecure) parents to helicopter over their children much more, they do effectively cut down on communication (’cause hey: who would even want to talk to a parent who had a sign like this, which basically tells you to completely back off), and adds to isolating young families. Also, after having read Robin’s comment on the explanation MamaBears gives — I think it’s awful to come up with excuses rather than just communicating face to face with people about why you don’t want them to touch their kids. It’s designed to make money, and in RL will do more harm than good.

    So long,

  112. Ok, give me a break people! I had a 1.5 pound preemie who spent his first 6 months in the NICU. We used no signs, no hand sanitizer, no anything. Today, my 9 year old is a straight A student, sports freak and in a rock band. People with signs, please take a chill pill!

  113. If a kid just got out of the NICU or something, a hand written sign saying, “I just got out of the NICU! Please don’t touch me!” Or “My immune system is compromised! Please don’t touch me!” would come off as MUCH nicer than this sign.

    I’m of the school that thinks that germs build healthy kids’ immune systems, so I didn’t mind people touching my kids. I certainly understand why people whose kids have weak immune systems would feel differently, but I really think a personally written sign would do a lot more good. And wouldn’t cost anything, but of course if no one can make money off it, it isn’t as cool.

  114. Even as a young, first-time parent, I was very thankful to have enough people share my excitement over my daughter that they would be willing to try to make her smile while we were doing something mundane like grocery shopping. My daughters are now 3 and 4, and I am thrilled when they are friendly enough to greet the people around them when we go out, and I love to see the surprised smiles everyone gets when two little girls are so willing to be outgoing and friendly with “strangers”.
    Most people who are so terrified to have anyone show affection to their so-very-special children that they feel the need to be angry and aggressive about it, will wear those feelings on their sleeve. Don’t worry, we will get the vibe just from walking by you that you will bite us if we look at your children. You can only hope that everyone around you hasn’t veered out of your path before someone can yank your kid out from in front of a car, if the need arises.
    And about the pregnant bellies: I’m pretty sure nobody means any harm when they reach out to touch the symbol of life and hope you’re carrying around in front of you. But I know that I could trust my pregnancy hormones to tell someone to back off quickly and efficiently if I wasn’t in the mood.

  115. These tags are a great idea. In a world where parents do anything to protect their children, why is it so strange to add another layer of protection. Children are exposed to enough things at school and parks etc., they don’t need any extra.
    It seems as though most of you are oblivious to the spreading harmful germs and bacteria. H1N1 anyone? No thanks!
    I, for one,think it is totally inappropriate for strangers to touch babies unsolicited. This is more common than you may think, this is not a petting zoo.
    As a specialist in the field of germs and bacteria, you would be surprised to know the amount of spreadable germs from something as simple as a touch or kiss.

    The”Baby on Board” signs were never produced to provide true safety, they have as much legitamacy as “My son is an Honor Student” Bumper Sticker.

  116. Thanks for the levity! I needed some humour in my day 🙂

    I too come from the school of thought that holds that early and repeated exposure to life in all of its germy splendour helps to strengthen the system.

    (With obvious exception for those precious ones whose immune systems are compromised.)

  117. @ Frume Sarah:
    A patient actually told me about this message board, and I couldn’t let the common myth that exposure to germs is a good thing. Children are exposed to plenty of germs on their own.

    Some of the people on this board are giving Adults way too much credit. My child has been randomly touched by strangers, and there’s usually no warning.
    I would use and recommend a Product like this because when it comes to protecting the health and welfare of my children, I am absolutely not concerned with whether I offend a complete stranger.

    I realize it’s a joy to be around children, however, people need to learn boundries.

    Next time a stranger leaves the Bathroom without washing their hands, maybe you’ll get lucky and they well pinch your childs cheeks.

  118. I always hated those dreaded “baby on board” signs, bumper stickers, tshirts whatever! It seems so self-centered. Even when mine were babies, I couldn’t stand those darn things. Sorry, but nobody cares about your baby, except for you!

    This germ sign is even worse! At our local Five Guys burger joint, they have a sign that says to please keep the free peanuts inside the building and not outside at their outdoor seating area, on account of nut allergies!!!!!!!!!! So, 98% of the community should cater to the 2% who have a peanut allergy, while out in public at that?! Huh?

    Put little one in a big plastic bubble then! Bubble Boy Part Deux, returning to the big screen, Summer 2010!


  119. “So, 98% of the community should cater to the 2% who have a peanut allergy, while out in public at that?! Huh?”

    Considering that in some cases, peanut allergies can be FATAL, yes, they should.

    Is your “right” to eat peanuts wherever the hell you damn well please really so important?

  120. Glad to find other germ lovers here. The sign I can’t stand is the one in the restaurant bathrooms: Employees must wash their hands before returning to work. Now that is wishy washy (no pun intended). And how paranoid is that doctor who washes his hands before examining me. Germs build your immune system.

  121. “Is your “right” to eat peanuts wherever the hell you damn well please really so important?”

    In a PUBLIC space, I would say so.

    If my peanut allergy is potentially fatal, I will safely plan accordingly and not expect the world to revolve around my issue. I would start by not going to such restaurant where nuts are freely dispersed while at the same time allowing those without such a rare allergy to freely enjoy them as they wish:)

  122. @Michele I respect 5 Guys because they are upfront about the peanut thing. I am deathly allergic to peanuts. I can die from touching something you touched after eating peanuts. Restaurants don’t always tell the truth (Can’t figure that one out from the liability angle).

    I wonder if your Local 5 Guys has had a problem with people on the porch area throwing the shells at people. I just asked a co worker and the 5 Guys near work does have outside seating but no sign like you describe.

    I grew up in the Astrodome baseball, football, rodeo seasons. I remember 2 occasions when some type of accommodations had to be made.

    1. Some bratty teenagers decided to throw peanuts at the section my family was seated in. They were told to stop by my father and why. They increased and targeted me. My MOm and the lady in front of us covered me with their windbreakers. While my father and his frat brothers (the entire section) got an usher and the teenagers were forced to leave. (they cursed at the ushers)

    2. Rodeo season. Dad’s boss had a box. Mr. Dixon was in charge of the box. They would put out bowls of peanuts and popcorn. Nice wooden bowls. He always lined mine with some napkins and the staff knew for that night that bowl could only have popcorn. We had the run of the dome. Even went “back stage”, because we were in the grand opening. After I was about 6 or 7 my parents didn’t think twice about letting us loose with our own money. The concession stand staff got to know me. They would hand me the prepackaged stuff and let me read the labels before I bought anything.

  123. Dr. Nostrin,
    I’ll just say I’m glad you aren’t my doctor.

    Same sign at the 5 Guys near us, I’m sure it is a CYA measure at their lawyers advice. I was kind of annoyed by it as well, but after eating at 5 Guys I can’t imagine having the desire to take any food anywhere as I’m stuffed to the gills.

    If people are throwing peanuts at random people I’d be willing to bet they would also ignore the nicely worded sign.

  124. Dr. Von Nostrin – So if the same person who doesn’t wash their hands then gets a napkin from a food court dispenser that you happen to touch next…Or do you don gloves while in public places? Seems to me it’s almost impossible to prevent contact so maybe relieve some of your own stress and chill out about it. Stress can’t be good for the immune system.

  125. Both of my children were born in the fall right before the holidays. Our doctor encouraged us to limit their exposure to friends and family members at holiday gatherings since that was prime cold and flu season. My second child was premature, so were particularly concerned about her health. When we got together with our families, we simply kept our newborns in a wearable sling where they slept happily the entire time. If someone wanted a peak then I let them look and that seemed to be enough to satisfy their natural curiosity about the newest family member and nobody was offended. It was that simple. If someone *really* wanted to hold the baby then we just asked that they wash their hands first which nobody complained about. Our doctor even told us we could blame him….he didn’t mind being the scapegoat for us! Just tell ’em ‘doctor’s orders’.

    It was that simple.

    The signs may be perfectly useful for a child with very real health concerns, but for the general public, they’re a bit much. I think they actually are counter productive for the families who truly need them, since the more they’re used the less likely people are to pay attention to them. This is certainly not an item that every new parent needs.

  126. I agree with the parents of multiples who have posted above: Strangers think it is ok to touch baby twins even if they would not touch a singleton. I started ignoring the “OOOOooooooooh CUTE” exclamations from people who just saw the double stroller before seeing its contents. What if my babies were really ugly? You’ve started saying “CUTE” before you even see them! Anyway, I might have used this sign just to cut down on this weird entitlement people seem to feel about touching twins.

  127. Thank you to whoever posted the snopes article about Baby on Board signs. The first thing in emergency first responder training is assessing the scene, including how many casualties there are. My husband was a police officer and never relied on a Baby on Board sign to tell him that he should check the number of casualties before leaving a scene. If your first responder is relying on a Baby on Board sign, you’ve got big problems.

  128. You know, these signs are neither widely available nor widely used.

    Maybe instead of dogpiling and calling people paranoid idiots, you should consider the fact that a lot of parents who use these actually NEED them.

    In the weeks leading up to my daughter’s surgery, we were warned on pain of cancellation that she absolutely could not get an upper respiratory infection, even a common cold. Period.

    You would be surprised how many people with runny noses will try to touch a stranger’s child, even if said parent is trying to dart around the stroller and physically block them. I sure as hell was surprised, and damned if the sniffly touchers aren’t FAST, too.

    So, yes, I had a similar sign (the ‘please wash your hands before touching mine’ one), partly because on any given day, I didn’t feel like explaining to every random stranger that my child was sick just so they would stay the hell away and not endanger her life.

    The particulars of my child’s health were not their business, nor did I want to invite conversation with curious strangers when all I needed was to get through the grocery store and get a gallon of milk.

    Give people the benefit of the doubt. If they’re using one of these, it’s probably because their child needs it.

    …and if they don’t, WHY DO YOU CARE?

    How does this impact your life, other than being fodder for contemptuous rants about germophobes?

  129. Also, considering that you started out being criticized by other parents for the choices you made in raising your son, I’m a little surprised to see this same kind of parenting judgment dished out to others via this site.

    It’s a little disappointing.

  130. akeeyu – I’m sorry your daughter had to go through surgery. I hope she’s recovered now.

    I appreciate signs like this could be useful in some situations, but this sign isn’t marketed to people in your situation. It’s marketed as a “great shower gift”, i.e. something every parent would want.

    So my personal dislike of the sign is that it is part of pressure that moves the norms for parenting in a direction I find troubling and detrimental to the well being of children and parents generally. And I think the use of signs in situations where it’s a parental preference rather than a health need really leads to a much more insular culture in general, and I really dislike that.

  131. We don’t know what their story is. Maybe they are tired of having to ask for personal space. Maybe they don’t like random people coming up and getting their dirty grity hands all over their infant. I wish I had a sign like that when my kids were babies. Maybe there wouldn’t be a need for a sign like that if people had a little more respect and some basic manners. It’s an ugly world and until it cleans up there will always be ugly signs.
    I’m all for a sign like that for my five year old daughter. She has very chronic eczema and her open sores are always vulnerable to infection. The only medicines that ease her discomfort (and really only take the edge off, not completely leaving her comfortable) are also medicines that compromise her immune system. A simple cold hospitalizes her. There are times I take her off the medicine and she itches like crazy and is red from head to toe with rashes and is in pain and can’t run or play and definitely can NOT play in Mcdonald’s playplace, not because I’m a psycho who worries too much but because it’s a fact and to see my child with infections isn’t worth risking her getting contaminated by others. And then when I decide I’d rather her be less itchy and rashy and I give her the medicine so she can run and play and enjoy her life I am faced with the awkward dilemma of keeping anyone who doesn’t look healthy the hell away from my child. Life isn’t always peachy and some of us are required to protect our children from the dirty world.

  132. Amanda,

    What whose story is? It is a sign for sale being marketed to all parents?

    I’m sorry you live in an “ugly world”. I myself live in a wonderful world, where the majority of the people I meet are good natured folks. If they invade my or my childrens space I ask them to step back and they do. I think I’ve had to do this twice in 2.5 years. You are welcome to come visit my world if you’d like, just let me know where your “ugly world” and I’ll give you directions.

  133. If ;you don’t want people looking at or touching your baby, then I suggest you don’t leave the house unless you have too(say for a Dr. appt.)I for one, have no interest in babies whatsoever, and even though I love this blog, I’m happy I’m remaining childfree!!

  134. Actually, I think the sign is okay. especially if you your baby’s immune is not well developed. However if you’re a “clean Freak”, then that is a different story.

  135. I’m sorry, but this is downright hilarious! Thanks for the chuckle.

  136. As the mother of 2 ( thank God) healthy Kids and the author of one of the articles mentioned in the comments, and a FAN of the signs , if you don’t like the signs, don’t look at them ! If you want to cuddle a baby, get to work and make one of your own.

    I personally like the sign because
    1. Humans are the filthiest animals on the planet . I’d rather have my kids put my dog’s paw on their mouth than a strangers hand
    2. People routinely invade children’s space and frankly i and my kids never liked some random person poking their head suddenly in their stroller
    3.I don’t think any of you free rangers will be lining up to nurse my kid through a cold or flu , so don’t do anything intentional that may cause it .

    And lastly after 7 years working ER and a Medical professional for a husband I can assure you that 90% of your beliefs about germs are 100% incorrect as well as your understanding of the immune system. Just a quick fact to lay on you ..Kids Immune systems don’t even EXIST independently of their mother’s immunoglobulins for 90 days, a simple cold can land your baby in the PICU or the grave . Children’s Immune Systems aren’t fully developed until they reach puberty ( around FOURTEEN years old) , and “letting” your children get sick doesn’t build a stronger immune system Genetics, Nutrition, and light exposure to pathogens does.

  137. helenquine,

    “I appreciate signs like this could be useful in some situations, but this sign isn’t marketed to people in your situation. It’s marketed as a “great shower gift”, i.e. something every parent would want. ”

    I don’t think you can make a good faith argument that this sign is being “marketed” to anybody on a large scale basis.

    Are they available at Target? Walmart? Babies R Us? Casual Googling says no. I’m not even seeing them on Amazon.

    So…the entire “marketing to everybody” angle is that the manufacturer of the product says on their website, a website that appears to be the primary sales location for said item, that they’re a good shower gift?

    That’s pretty thin evidence. Don’t all manufacturers claim that their product is ideal for all parties?

    If you want to get het up about something that *is* being mass marketed, try ‘travel system’ strollers that have two little awnings that basically snap up over the baby, hiding it completely. Sometimes the second awning is actually called a “paparazzi shield”.

    Heck, I’d be willing to bet that a significant percentage of the commenters with kids that are decrying these signs are paranoid and laughable actually have one of these travel systems, as these are made by major manufacturers (Graco, Chicco, BabyTrend) and distributed by nationwide chains.

    So…putting a sign on your stroller telling people not to touch your baby = FAIL and yet completely enclosing your baby in a little opaque fabric pod = WIN?

    How does that work?

    I stand by my disappointment in this site for judging other parents from on high and encouraging others to do the same. I really thought part of the Free Range theory also had something to do with trusting kids and parents and that whole live and let live thing. This post and the comment thread certainly opened my eyes.

  138. Darned typos.

    That should be:
    Heck, I’d be willing to bet that a significant percentage of the commenters with kids that are decrying these signs *AS* paranoid and laughable actually have one of these travel systems, as these are made by major manufacturers (Graco, Chicco, BabyTrend) and distributed by nationwide chains.

  139. akeeyu -I’ve never seen one of these signs in use. So if I’ve made a claim along the lines of it being a pressing issue that we *must* all rise up against I was definitely getting hyped up in the heat of the moment. But, no, not all companies claim that their products are ideal for all parties, especially not products that are designed for people with specialist health issues (which this is not – that’s the point).

    As for “So…putting a sign on your stroller telling people not to touch your baby = FAIL and yet completely enclosing your baby in a little opaque fabric pod = WIN?”

    I don’t know why you get the idea that people saying they don’t like this sign must think that “paparazzi shields” are good. I haven’t seen these double awning things, I looked at a lot of buggies by the manufacturers you mention and didn’t notice them.

    I guess I could see them being good for sun shielding or keeping things dark for sleeping (I just used a blanket but it had it’s disadvantages) for newborns. But if they’re marketed as “keep away” things then I dislike these too and more to the point, I dislike the message that encourages people to be insular. I’d probably buy a buggy that had one and not use it if the buggy I wanted came with it as standard.

    As for the judgmental thing – where did you get the idea it wasn’t judgmental? Have you actually read the previous posts? Because there have been an awful lot of posts that have a judgment in them about things that are or are not what Lenore considers to be free-range. You can’t simply live and let live if you’re trying to change prevailing culture.

  140. akeeyu,

    Are your familiar with irony?

    An example, would be attacking a comment as having “thin evidence” and in the next paragraph making an assumption based on no evidence but stating it as fact.

    Another example would be making a very judgmental sounds comment about how disappointed you are in the site and commenters for being judgmental.

  141. I am very disturbed lately, by the lack of awareness of all the deadly germs around us nowadays. My nephew, and that of my good friend, as well another friend’s son, spent at least a week each in the hospital fighting staph infections recently. In my nephews case, it accessed his little 10 month old body through a rash. Even the rash’s cause was undetermined. Nevertheless, it all came down to germs. I am surprised at how many people had not heard of what he had either Staph or MRSA. If you research MRSA there have been several deaths tied to this. There are only a handful of antibiotics that help and even those are showing some resistance. From what I have read as well, the multitude of food products we consume that contain antibiotics are making us resistant to their usefulness in fighting these germs! Who would want their child have surgery to cut the infection out of his body, be tied down with IV in your arm or foot and lie in an isolated metal crib for a week as my nephew did?
    My 3 month old has the paparazzi shade on his car seat/stroller and I am considering purchasing the sign as well, now that we keep the shade open. I have to say, numerous people including children, do try to touch him. Sometimes my back is turned or I am engaged in conversation. The sign would help in such cases. I don’t want anyone sharing anything with my child. My 3 year old has food allergies and to this day people still touch her and I have to stop them! If she is touched by someone who may have what she’s allergic to on their skin, well, guess what? That becomes a problem for us that I may not be able to tend to appropriately at that time.
    I’m not a germaphobe. I have 4 children and all have engage some pretty disgusting behavior like eating off a dirty floor at some point, but if you can help fend off unnecessary germs or touching from strangers, what’s the harm?

  142. where are the signs that say please don’t let your child touch anything, given the little kids are disease vectors and prone to putting dirty little hands everywhere.

    I figure it is a trade off – the parents of the toddler set can’t keep their kids contained and newborns might have to cope with adult size germs. and we all have to live in the world together, so if your kid is that fragile, keep it home or in a sling.

  143. … I “agree” with that sign – or at least support it. It is amazing in my opinion, how little strangers do in fact care about touching pretty much all of a baby’s face, hands, everything, w/o washing their hands. Most people are simply not really/actively aware of the weak immune system a newborn/baby has. Andrea from baby furniture cribs

  144. They have a weak immune system because it needs building up! Unless they have some overlying issue, babies need exposure to everyday germs and people.

  145. Huh! must be too much baby health conscious mom. Like many things, the ‘BABY ON BOARD’ signs started off as a good thing and quickly became an annoying, gimmicky eyesore.

  146. much ado about nothing. If someone does not want people coming up and touching their baby and the babys’ pram then thats fine.

    And people do carry a huge amount of disease, and yes baby does need to develop their own immune system, but maybe Mom wants them to do that in her own way and not through exposure to disease ridden strangers who happen to think its perfectly acceptable to touch, cough and splutter over someone esles’ baby.

  147. Dr Von Nostrin,

    <> I was hoping you would come to the rescue of science and explain that germs come in only one size for adults and babies alike 🙂

  148. Many thanks with the wonderful wakeboarding tricks!

  149. I think the baby on board signs are a warning to the other drivers that mean the person driving this car is sleep deprived and distracted, stay back. It’s kind of like a student driver sign. I don’t really think it is o.k. to touch a baby without asking. My oldest son really hated it and even in a sling it was sometimes hard to protect him in public. I always wanted a sign that said warning baby projectile vomits.

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  151. I have one of these signs, and I don’t have any qualms about displaying it prominently on my child’s seat. He was born at 26 weeks gestation, spent 155 days in the NICU and almost died due to respiratory failure many times. His lungs are fragile and as the neonatologist put it, “Crappy”. We’ve come a long way, and if any random person grabbing my kid’s hand which he will in turn stick into his mouth as any normal baby would do will put us back in the hospital and this sign will help in even the slightest way, I’m game! Back off, parents to “normal, healthy kids”! Don’t knock something until you know what its intent is. I have had to move the stroller away from *many* overbearing reaching strangers…even with an oxygen line and tank in tow and attached to my child. Some people are just oblivious! If you don’t care for the sign, don’t buy one. If you aren’t in the business of touching strangers’ kids, ignore it because it obviously isn’t directed at you.

  152. We’re not. But it’s being MARKETED TO EVERY PARENT, not just you who has a good REASON, don’t you see? They don’t care that it’s best used for fragile children like yours. They want all of us parents to be DEATHLY AFRAID of EVERY germ that could come near our perfectly healthy children, keeping us living in fear and making us isolated from regular society and people! Fear, fear, fear for normal, healthy children.

    That’s the point of Free-Range. To STOP being afraid of EVERYTHING when it’s not necessary.

  153. Instead of one of those twee little signs, how about one of these?

  154. I think the point is that these signs appear to be mass-produced and th therefore a “Use this or be a bad parent!” type object, you know?

  155. Hi there, Just saying hello to this forum.


  156. I don’t think this is similar to the “Baby On Board” sign at all. I completely agree with the ridiculousness of a “Baby On Board” sign. Especially since no one wants to get hit by another car, baby or no baby. However, some mothers don’t mind people touching their baby while others do.

  157. I would use this sign. I love all the people getting bent out of shape about it and bragging how they let their kids eat food off the floor at the mall. Like thats good parenting. Would YOU eat food off the floor? If so, theres your problem right there. You’re gross.

    Anyhow, I would use a sign like this. Too many people have come up and touched my newborn’s face without permission. Total strangers. GAG. Do you realize the large majority of people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom? I know this from using public toilets. Too many people flush and leave without washing. And then you’re going to touch my baby’s face with your Herpes infested vag germs and fecal fingers? I think not. Get offended. I don’t care. Don’t touch my kid! People are stupid. They need signs because common sense has been bred out of them.

  158. Using your voice is great and all but most of the time people have already got their hands on my children before I can say don’t touch. The sign would stop them from placing their hands on my babies in the first place. Do what you want among your own family but if I don’t know you, please don’t touch my babies. I have six month old twins and I cannot go anywhere ever without people stopping to ogle them and that is fine but at least half of those then reach out and touch their toes or hands or faces. My kids put their toes and fingers in their mouths and most people are taking their hands right off of a shopping cart handle to maul them. I invite you to swab the handle of a shopping cart if you don’t think germs are a problem for tiny immune systems. We spent ten days in the nicu and my kids were sick twice before they were three months old. I personally believe that those wanting to put their hands on them should use THEIR voices and freaking ask before handling my children. One woman in the grocery store actually tried to take one of my sons out of his carrier yesterday. The sign is not the problem. Rude, pushy people are the problem. I wouldn’t even need a sign if people would keep their hands to themselves in the first place.

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