Gerber baby: Child products company chooses Lucas Warren as first 'spokesbaby' with Down syndrome

'I hope it shines light to the special needs community, showing that they are just like you and me,' Lucas's mother says

Family's down's syndrome son to be the first 'Gerber' baby with the condition

Gerber has announced its first spokesbaby with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects some 6,000 babies born in the US every year.

The popular baby food company awarded the coveted prize of 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby to Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia. Lucas was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born, but his parents say it never affected their love for him.

“My biggest concern always with Lucas was how people were going to treat him. I was always afraid he would be bullied or people would be scared of him,” his mother, Courtney, told the Today Show. “It’s never once changed how we felt about him. He was always our son.”

Ms Warren said she submitted her baby’s photo to the Gerber Baby Photo Search “on a whim,” after a friend tipped her off to the social media contest. She posted a photo of Lucas on Instagram with the contest hashtag, and says she was “shocked” when she found out he had won.

“We had just walked into the house and we opened the mail and she started screaming,” Ms Warren’s husband, Jason, said. “She’s like, ‘He won! He actually won!’”

Gerber selected Lucas out of more than 140,00 contest entrants. He is the first baby with Down syndrome to be selected in the contest's eight-year history. Along with being featured on Gerber’s social media pages, Lucas will be awarded $50,000, which his parents hope to put towards his education.

"Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber's longstanding heritage of recognising that every baby is a Gerber baby," Gerber CEO and President Bill Partyka said in a statement. "This year, Lucas is the perfect fit."

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes developmental delays and intellectual disability. People with Down syndrome also commonly experience low muscle tone and a small stature. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the US is born with Down syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ms Warren said she hopes Lucas’s win can raise awareness about Down syndrome and those living with it.

“I hope it shines light to the special needs community, showing that they are just like you and me,” she said. “They should be accepted, not based on their looks, but based on who they are.”

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