The 2018 Gerber Baby was announced today, and he’s making history as the first child with Down syndrome to be honored with the title.One-year-old Lucas Warren from Dalton, Georgia beat out more than 140,000 other contestants to win Gerber’s 2018 Spokesbaby contest. Since Gerber started the contest more than 90 years ago, Lucas is the only winner with special needs.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber, said in a statement. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 7, 2018
It’s not hard to see why Lucas’s infectious smile and bright personality made him stand out to the Gerber team. “He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Lucas’s mom, Cortney, told TODAY Parents. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”
Cortney says she entered Lucas in the contest on a whim after a relative brought it to her attention. She and Lucas’s dad, Jason, are excited for Lucas but also for what his win means in terms of representation. “We’re hoping this will impact everyone — that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited,” Jason told TODAY. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
The CDC estimates that 1 out of every 691 babies are born with Down syndrome, yet the disability remains extremely underrepresented in media. Lucas’s win sets a higher standard for representation and his new status as, essentially, America’s cutest baby hopefully brings more acceptance for people with conditions such as Down syndrome.