A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 17, 2018
“Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car”

"Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car” is a safety slogan that has been printed on many images. The message is somewhat politically incorrect because the second part (about using a seatbelt) can be understood by some to be joking about child abuse.

“Hug your kids at home. Belt them in the car” has been printed on bumper stickers since at least 1984.


21 November 1984, The Oregonian (Portland, OR), Jonathan Nicholas column, pg. B1, col. 1: 
BUMPERSNICKER OF THE WEEK: Seen by Shirley Nudelman—“Hug your kids at home. Belt them in the car.”

10 September 1987, Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA), “You must remember this...” by Bill Wundram, pg. 2, col. 1:
Hug Your Kids At Home
And Belt Them In The Car
(A bumper sticker.—ed.)

28 September 1989, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “Why Aren’t Those Blinding, Raised Headlights Illegal?” by Martin Gordon, pg. C18:
Bumper snicker-of-the-week: Hug Your Kids At Home, But Belt Them In The Car.

18 April 1991, Waterloo (ON) Record, “Restrain children in the car,” pg. A4:
Recently, Eastwood Collegiate posted a phrase on its outside information board which faces Weber Street. It read: Hug your kids at home. Belt them in the car.

I commend them for taking on two issues with this statement. One being child abuse, the other being the child’s safety in the car.

4 February 1993, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, “Mortgage Firm Loses Suit Over Default” by Jerry Berger, pg. 1E:
Joe McFarland, retired trustee of Bel-Nor Village, winced when he caught this bumpersnicker: “Hug your kids at home and belt them in the car!”

Google Groups: rec.humor
bumper stickers
Brent Cullimore
7/7/93
Bumper stickers, published by the Denver Post 7/6/93
by Steven Rosen.
(...)
“Hug Your Kids at Home and Belt Them in the Car”

Google Books
A Man of My Words:
Reflections on the English Language

By Richard Lederer
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin
2003
Pg. 187:
Hug your kids at home, but belt them in a car.

Google Books
Car Ownership for Women
By Dani Ben-Ari
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
2010
Pg. 30:
Remember, “Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car” (Unknown Author).

Twitter
Philipp Kandal
@apphil
Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car. ~Author Unknown
12:03 AM - 7 Apr 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Thursday, May 17, 2018 • Permalink