Urban Legends

Baby on the Roof

The Legend

A couple from New York was driving cross country for their two-week summer vacation. While crossing the Nevada desert, they stopped to stretch their legs and give their baby a little sun before night fell, setting his baby seat on the roof of the car so it wouldn't get sandy. When they were through, they got back in the car and continued toward Las Vegas. Only after checking into their hotel did they realize that the baby wasn't with them -- they had both assumed that the other was taking care of the baby and had left the baby seat with its precious cargo on top of their car. In a panic, the couple retraced their route and found the baby, still safely in its seat, at the side of the road.

They were overjoyed that disaster had been averted. In fact, the husband was so overjoyed that he put the baby in the car and drove off, leaving his wife standing in the desert.

Behind the Legend

Behind the Legend: The "forgotten baby" incident is a retelling of the experiences of Myron and Marion Carlisle who forgot their baby during a driving vacation in 1984. Details are as listed here, except that the baby was only forgotten for a couple of hours and had a mild case of sunburn when found. Frequent repeating of this legend led to a visit from Child Protective Services and the placing of the healthy, well-adjusted baby in a military-style group foster home where it would be more reliably taken care of.

Several variations of this legend exist. They contain one or more of the following details:

  • After realizing that their baby is gone, the parents interrupt their rush to their car to play a little blackjack.
  • The baby seat is found empty and the baby is raised by wolves.
  • A young girl finds the baby and takes it home, but then gets high on LSD and, mistaking the baby for a turkey, puts it in the oven.
  • The baby grew up to be Mikey from the Life cereal commercials.

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