For many parents, naming a child can become a stressful process. Perhaps, it’s the pressure of giving a tiny human a name they will have for their entire life. Some families name their kids after a family member, someone famous, fictional characters, or sometimes something that reminds them of a sweet memory. Parents have the right to choose a child’s name. However, that responsibility comes with a few restrictions.

Some states have naming laws and restrictions that define whether new parents are allowed to choose a certain name for their baby or not. According to, a vital records application preparation assistance service, certain states have other kinds of naming restrictions in place to protect children. This includes banning the use of obscenity in names.

What are some of those baby name restrictions?

Several states limit the number of characters that can be used in a name because of official birth records software used in the U.S. Apparently, in Nebraska first, middle and last names must be less than 100 characters total.

While other states go as far as banning the use of numerical digits or emojis. For example, Massachusetts only allow letters found on the standard English keyboard to be used in baby names. There are also states who prohibit naming children after people who have committed heinous crimes. We don’t know why anyone would, but this means you can’t name your child “Adolf Hitler.”

Many of the common naming restrictions include derogatory terms, obscenity, offensive names, numbers, and certain characters like asterisks. However, there are celebrities like Grimes and Elon Musk who didn’t let their states restrictions stop them from naming their kids Exa Dark Sideræl referred to as “Y” and  X Æ A-XII, nicknamed “X.”

If you are in the “naming” process, you should become familiar with the restrictions set in place by each state to avoid birth certificate surprises.

Here are 6 baby names you probably should avoid.

  • Messiah

    In 2013, a child support magistrate in East Tennessee ruled that a 7-month-old boy named Messiah must have his name changed to Martin. “The word ‘Messiah’ is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ,” said  Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew.

    Help hand of God reaching over blurred cross on sunrise background Help hand of God reaching over blurred cross on sunrise background

  • Adolf Hitler

    In 2009, New Jersey parents Heath and Deborah Campbell were taken into state custody after authorities got involved in a cake incident. A bakery refused to decorate a cake with the words “Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler.” The Campbell’s gave their three children Nazi-inspired names including Adolf Hitler . Though the state said that their names were not the reason, it’s been reported that the parents didn’t believe them.

    Disgusted face expression with young woman

  • Allah

    In 2018, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk of Georgia sued their home state after officials refused to let them name their daughter ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah. The issue was Allah, the two-year-old girl’s last name. Georgia law requires that children bear the last name of at least one of their parents. The parents won the case, with the help of lawyers from the ACLU.

    Muslim prayer open two empty hands up on light background

  • 1069

    In 1976, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that short-order cook and high school teacher Michael Herbert Dengler could not change his name to “1069.”

    Judge holding gavel in courtroom

  • Santa Claus

    In December 1999, Robert William Handley of Ohio filed a petition to change his name to Santa Robert Claus. Judge Lawrence Belskis denied his petition saying that “the public has a proprietary interest, a proprietary right in the identity of Santa Claus, both in the name and the persona.”

    Santa Claus with finger on the lips

  • III

    A 1984 ruling from the California Courts of Appeal denied a request from Thomas Boyd Ritchie III to change his name to the Roman numeral “III,” pronounced “Three.” The court said that, “a change to a roman numeral did not constitute a name change within the meaning of the law and that the new ‘name’ used by appellant was inherently confusing.”

    Closeup photo of funny lady raising hand showing three fingers positive mood wear white casual outfit isolated beige pastel color background

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