Gerber Selects First Gerber Baby Contest Winner with Down Syndrome

14-month-old Lucas Warren of Dalton, Ga. won over executives at Gerber baby food who have made him their "spokesbaby" this year. Lucas is Gerber's first spokesbaby with Down syndrome in the company's 91-year history. (Courtesy Warren family/Gerber via AP)
Warren family/Gerber via AP

Gerber is breaking barriers after announcing that the 2018 Gerber Baby contest winner would be a one-year-old infant with Down syndrome.

The infant’s parents announced on NBC’s Today Show Wednesday morning that their son Lucas Warren, of Dalton, Georgia, is the baby food company’s “spokesbaby of the year” and the first infant with Down syndrome to capture the title since the contest’s start in 2010.

“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.”

Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber Foods, said that the team chose Lucas after sifting through more than 140,000 entries because of his “happy expression.”

“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Partyka. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”

Jason, Lucas’s father, said is hoping that Gerber’s decision to feature a special-needs baby would promote more acceptance of those with disabilities.

“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,” he said. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”

.