US & Canada

Lucas Warren: Baby with Down's becomes face of Gerber

Lucas Warren, an 18-month-old baby with Down syndrome, smiles into the camera. He is wearing a light green shirt with a black spotted bowtie. Image copyright Gerber
Image caption Lucas' father said he hoped his son's win could help people with disabilities become more accepted

An 18-month-old boy with Down's syndrome has been named as this year's "spokesbaby" of the US baby food brand Gerber.

Lucas Warren from Georgia is the first child with Down's syndrome to be named as a "Gerber baby". His image will be used to market and represent the brand.

Gerber says his selection, from more than 140,000 entries, could help social acceptance of those with disabilities.

His mother, Cortney, said she entered his photo "on a whim".

Gerber's CEO, Bill Partyka, described Lucas as "the perfect fit".

Lucas's father, Jason, told NBC's Today programme that he hoped Lucas's win could "help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited".

Many on social media, including advocacy groups and relatives of people with Down's syndrome, reacted positively to the announcement.

However others on social media have alleged that Gerber's affiliate company Gerber Life has denied policies to children with Down syndrome.

A spokeswoman for Gerber Life told the BBC that they issue policies based on each child's unique situation.

"This includes issuing some policies that cover children with Down's syndrome," they added, however they refused to comment on individual cases.

What is the Gerber baby?

  • The Gerber baby logo began life back in 1928 when the company invited people to send in baby face portraits
  • The winning drawing, sent in by Dorothy Hope Smith, is still the company's logo today. It became synonymous with the brand.
  • The Gerber "spokesbaby" competition is a modern incarnation, which started in 2010. People send in pictures of their child and one is chosen to represent the brand.
  • The "spokesbaby" does not replace the Gerber baby icon but the portrait is used to market and represent the brand.

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