Child On Board


I’m now well over a year into parenthood now, and now nearing the second month of ‘double parenthood’. I have learned (learnt?) a lot. And I’m still learning a lot too. And I imagine there’s a heck of a lot still to learn beyond all of that. One of the more important things that I have learned as a parent, is that not everything is as it seemed before I’d entered this world. So many misconceptions from before parenthood, now completely turned on their heads.

As my title suggests, this particular post is in relation to those little yellow diamond signs that parents stick to the rear windscreen. You know the ones. The ones that tell other drivers that there is a child on board. I, in the past, laughed at these extensively. As if to think that those signs mean anything to other drivers. “It’s an insult to other people’s driving to think that they aren’t driving their best already!”

Well, that’s what I thought before. Now I understand. Now I get the purpose of them. Now I’d hang 20 on my back windscreen if I could. And here’s why…

Yup, no surprises I love my kids. More than I could have ever imagined, but I don’t for one second expect other drivers to share my protective nature of my kids. They aren’t bothered that there is a child (children now) on board. The odd people-carrier might drive a bit more cautiously. But the thought that anything I could do could ever influence a BMW or Merc driver is absurd. Let alone a tiny yellow sign. Bad drivers will always be bad drivers (and will alway drive BMWs).

That’s not the purpose of the yellow sign though. The yellow sign is far more important. I’m a self-confessed good driver. But trust me when I say those signs are there for a reason. When I’m doing 20mph in a 40mph zone coz I’m comforting my girl sitting in a pool of last night’s dinner whilst driving, I haven’t got time to apologise to the person behind me. When my girl is screaming in desperation because we just passed a park and I steal the last remaining parking space. When my baby somehow chewed the seatbelt clip off and I have to stick my hazards on while I park in a bus bay. I want people to know I’m a parent.

The sign, it is not to warn other drivers to be careful. It’s to warn them that there is a parent on board. And that parent just happens to care more about their child more than politeness or simple etiquette. It wouldn’t drive me to break the laws of the road, but it would drive me to ignore some of the unwritten rules of manors.

The yellow sign says, sorry, I needed the parking space more than you. The yellow sign says, sorry I drive slower for my child’s sake. The yellow sign says that I need the bus bay more than the bus. Actually, everyone deserves the bus bay more than the bus. And the bus lane and the cycle lane. Buses and Bikes are the the scourge of modern transport. I digress.

But anyway, all that to justify the fact that my car wears a Child on Board sign with pride. But in reality, it should probably read: Parent on board.