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Diatribe: “Family Stickers” On Your Mini Van Are A Very Bad Idea.


In my childhood travels, one of the places that we visited was Wall Drug Store, a tourist attraction located in the town of Wall, South Dakota.  It’s still a huge tourist trap stuffed with every imaginable souvenir and famous for its marketing campaigns including free water for visitors.  Back then, they had a reputation for putting bumper stickers on the cars parked in their parking lot while visitors shopped.  Needless to say, the practice was controversial and didn’t last long.  They still give away bumper stickers but only to visitors that want them.

I’ve never used a bumper sticker on my car but I enjoy reading them on others’.  I worry that they might draw negative attention to my vehicle and, possible, encourage vandalism.  It’s for this reason that I’ve always been troubled when I see “family stickers” on the backs of SUVs and minivans as I travel.  Sure, every parent is proud of their child’s accomplishments and every child loves to be publicly recognized but I think these stickers unintentionally share far too much information.

Take, for example, a soccer mom that’s proud of her three children and wants to tell the world.  She puts sticker on the back of her minivan showing each child, their relative ages (based on size) and their names.  She even includes a dog named Hank.  She also displays a “Proud Parent of Local Elementary School” bumper sticker.

This loving mother has just provided valuable and personal information to every potential predator in the area.  Most children only react negatively to a stranger.  So, if an unknown adult were to approach one of her girls and ask “Hi, Sweetie.  Do you and your little brother still have a Hank?  He still goes to Local Elementary School, right?” she would trust the adult completely.  Possibly enough to get in a car or go for a walk.

Don’t risk your child’s safety by allowing a potential predator to create an illusion of familiarity.  Responsible parents shouldn’t advertise personal information about their children.  If your child can be identified by a stranger, your child is at risk.  Rethink the use of “family stickers”.  Perhaps exchange them for a Wall Drug Store bumper sticker … they’re free.

Copyright © 2012

From → Diatribes

  1. You’re right — when my son was young, putting a child’s name on anything was discouraged because it invited child snatching.

    I love bumperstickers, too. They’re hilarious!


  2. I have an HRC sticker and a Peace sign on the back of my car.
    That sums me up nicely, I think.


  3. anne marie in philly permalink

    I have 2 equality stickers and 2 “mystery science theater 3000” stickers on my car. that’s good enough for me.

    only right wing nutjobs put those “family stickers” on their cars, along with their fish symbol and the flag and a “support the troops” ribbon. avoid like the plague!


  4. I have often thought of putting the family sticker on Paul’s car as a joke. Two dads, five kids, three dogs, a cat, guinea pigs, a horse and two ex- wives…Too much?


  5. By the way, it is always wise to google the sexual predators in your neighbourhood. Here’s a link-


  6. I see those family stickers on the backs of cars along with the cheer or football stickers with the kids name and age and I think – “are you outta your freakin’ mind?!”

    The only sticker on the back of my car says, “Watch For Motorcycles.”

    Good advice in this post.


  7. I see those stickers with kids on them, or the ones that have all the members of the family in cartoon form, and I AIM for those vehicles. It’s like a target to help control the worlds population.


  8. Yikes! I’ve always thought those family stickers were really cute. But I never thought of it from the point of view of kidnappers and predators. It sounds like those stickers might be interchangeable with a duck, sitting.


    • Too many people don’t think twice about putting their kids names on things. Sports uniforms, backpacks even diaper bags. I think a tag on the inside is ok.

      We don’t put our car’s VIN# on our keychain, right?


  9. Never thought of this angle. Good point. However, I did break down a couple of years ago and added my two “girls” – but I’m pretty sure the fur will be a turn off for most predators (although some are pretty sick).


  10. Good point. I hadn’t thought about that, but now that you mention it …

    I have a Darwin fish with little feet on my car. No bumper stickers though. I have issues with commitment. 🙂


  11. Kirk Parker permalink

    OK, but do we have any actual *evidence* of this happening? Stranger abductions are already quite rare to begin with, so I’d like to know there’s some validity to this warning (validity *beyond* people’s intuition) before I adopt Yet Another Thing To Worry About.


  12. Fishaddict permalink

    No I have a picture of me on the back of the truck. You can’t see the rest of the clan because we are all single file to minimize our profile. We don’t want to present too large of a target and I don’t want the young uns on point because they have not bee fully trained.


  13. I have to disagree. Statistically those predators he warns of are related to the child either as a family member, neighbor, coach, teacher, etc. just like most home burglaries are by people staking out the neighborhood or by people already close to the home owner not by people monitoring Facebook statuses. I’m sure random attacks happen but the stickers are not going to drive that.

    The DC Internet Caucus panel on kids and predation is a report that shows the media has over-hyped the child predator problem. Granted, this is focused on online problems and not real world, and the stickers are obviously real world.

    We are better off in a world were we teach our children common sense. Where we let 9 year olds ride the subway by themselves. And grow confident adults rather than paranoid and fearful people.

    In four generations, our children have lost their right to roam. With that, we dampen their curiosity; their natural explorative nature. These unjustified responses to playfulness such as family stickers on vehicles lends to creating a society that fears letting their children out of their yards. What kind of grandchildren will these kids raise for us?


  14. Alyssa permalink

    This is ridiculous advice. I’m guessing you’re one of those parents that makes your kids wear a bike helmet if they ride their bike down the driveway, or only let them get the mail if you’re watching from the door – with a phone in your hand, and 911 on speed dial.

    I’ll shock you further. My kids answer the phone and state their name. I know, I’m courting serious danger, because I hear that predators often pose as calling relatives, then once they have a kid’s name…there’s only one possible way for that scenario to play out.

    Good grief. Common sense parenting has all but disappeared.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. SayUncle » Family stickers are dumb
  2. Ovation: DiatribesAndOvations’ First Blogiversary! « DiatribesAndOvations
  3. Diatribe: Top Diatribes And Other Scandals Of 2012. « DiatribesAndOvations

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