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September 19, 2007

Go (Stick) Figure

Soccer_ball Each time we go to South Miami to visit our families, I always love seeing the cute little stick figure family decals on the rear windshield of the SUVs and minivans down there. 

I’m not sure why, but for some reason I take comfort in the "soccer mom" type symbols, including yoga pants and planned communities.  Maybe it’s the suburban Canadian in me. In any case, yesterday I decided to do a quick search online to see where I could find the decals. And you wouldn’t believe some of the search results 

I got back

Little did I know, the issue of family car decals seems to be the new hot topic

these days. In addition to those moms who just "hate" them or think they are unnecessarily corny or Partridge Family-ish, there is a surprising amount of people out there who believe that these stickers are huge security risks. Now for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, take a look here and here

for some examples. There are different styles of the decals and apparently some offer the option for parents to include the name of each family member (or the family name) underneath the stick figures. I’ve never actually seen that style on the road.

While I would never put my child’s name on one of those stickers (or a t-shirt or even a backpack, for that matter), I do think that they’re cute. And it goes without saying that no mother would ever dream of putting my children in danger, so is this really something to be worried about? I’m no criminal, but I have to think that a stick figure family decal on a windshield of a car is the least of our problems when it comes to children’s safety. It makes me sad that people feel so bound by fear.

Some of the comments I’ve read say that a child predator could take a look at a stick figure decal and know the size of the family, the members and their approximate ages, and possibly names, in addition to their interests. One scenario went something like this: a stranger could approach a young child after school and say: "Hi Billy, your mom sent me to pick you and Jake up from school and take you to karate practice because she had to take Spot to the vet."

Really?

I think that it’s all about using common sense and educating your children about safety. If a criminal is out to do harm, I am sure that there are plenty of other ways they would go about it rather than scouring the streets for family car decals. In fact, all one would have to do is follow you and your family somewhere and either look into your car at a stoplight or watch you in a store parking lot to see you and your two boys, maybe dressed in boy scout uniforms, letting the dog out of the back seat while you are calling their names. It’s the same information.

Do these decals really pose a security risk? What about the honor roll student bumper stickers? What about the soccer ball car magnets? Groups like Parent Smartz encourage us to remove all identifying objects from our cars.

Is it really that serious?

Stacey ponders these and other profound questions on her personal blog, MamaLaw.

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