‘Nutella’ and other banned baby names in the US

Finding a baby name that both you and your partner like, your family and friends don’t dislike, and your child won’t resent you for is a tough call. But did you know that when you’re picking a name, besides just Googling “baby names that mean fire“—or any other search terms to find the perfect name for your little one—there’s also a list of baby names you can’t choose?

Across the US there are certain laws concerning baby names. Yes, it’s true, there is a list of banned baby names that you cannot put on your child’s birth certificate. And while some of the rules may be more flexible in some parts of the US versus others, don’t worry, we’ve got them all outlined here for you.

Naming laws in the US

It seems that there isn’t really a nationwide consensus regarding what is or isn’t appropriate for a baby name. But one of the more generally accepted laws around the nation is that numbers are not allowed. So, if you were considering a name like “Experiment 626,” otherwise known as “Stitch,” then just know that you might have to keep searching.

State by state restrictions

Here are a few of the specific restrictions that different states can have on baby names. It would be a good idea to check with your state’s permissions before you set your heart on some of the more unique baby names. Of course, if you live in a state without any restrictions, like Illinois, then you’re completely free to name your baby whatever you wish!

1. Arizona

There is a 45 character limit on first, middle and last names.

2. Arkansas

Apostrophes, hyphens and spaces are only allowed if they are not used consecutively.

3. California

No derogatory or obscene names. Pictographs and non-English characters are also banned.

4. Florida

A signed agreement is required of parents to establish their child’s first name. Otherwise, a court will select one.

5. Georgia

Symbols and accents are not allowed.

6. Michigan

Only English characters.

7. Mississippi

When the parents are married, the child takes their father’s surname. But, if you prefer a different name then a request must be made.

8. New Jersey

Obscene names, numbers and symbols are all restricted.

9. New York

There is a 30-character maximum for first and middle names and 40-character maximum for last names. Numbers and symbols are not acceptable.

10. Ohio

Numbers are not acceptable, but hyphens, apostrophes and spaces are allowed.

11. Texas

There is a 100-character maximum for first, middle and last names. Only English characters are acceptable and numbers and diacritical marks are not allowed.

12. Virginia

Numbers symbols and other special characters are all forbidden.

Banned baby names across the US

Even though most states can’t agree on what should or shouldn’t be banned when it comes to unique baby names, here are just a few of the names that are forbidden in the US.

1. King

2. Queen

3. @

4. Majesty

5. Harry 3

6. Nutella

7. F!nn

Still searching for unique baby names?

Choosing your baby’s name is an important decision. And if you want a unique name for your child that’s not banned, then look no further. Explore any of the following baby name stories to find the name that best represents your little one. Whether you’re looking for names for a specific season, month or, maybe, you’re looking for a name that means “strong,” fall in love with any of these ideas. They’re all legal, we’re pretty sure.

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Today’s Parent is Canada’s #1 source for parenting content that informs, inspires and builds a sense of community. We help parents celebrate the happy chaos that comes with having a family and remind them that they are not alone. If you’re trying to conceive, pregnant or have children from newborn to ages 9+, you’ll get insightful information for all ages and stages on discipline, health, behaviour, education, plus easy and nutritious recipes and so much more.

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