It’s a subject I’ve seen raised so many times and each time it really makes my blood boil! I’m talking about the deviants without children that park in parent and child parking bays.

Parent and child car parking spaces are for parents with children. These spaces are generally not policed but recently in the news a pregnant lady using a parent and child space was fined as she did not have a child. This was eventually overturned but it raises the question, who should be entitled to park in these spaces?

It seems to me that in most cases the bays are not monitored and I know as I’ve seen first hand people without children park in them, while at the same time, I’m nearby struggling to get my two children out of the car doors in a regular parking space. It seems some feel that due to the fact these spaces are close to the store and badges are not required (as in the case of a disabled driver) they are convenient and free for all to use.

Only recently I was searching for a parent and child space in the car park of a certain large retailer, only to find a member of staff parked in a parent and child bay. Not the first time either. I was so irked, I actually took the time to report this to the store but the next week when I returned to do my weekly shop, his car was parked back in a parent and child space, yet again.

Personally, I really wish these corporations would simply move the parent and child bays further away from the front of a supermarket, or further back from the doors to the shops in multi-story car parks. I don’t think such close proximity (within reason) to the store is really necessary, it’s more about having adequate room to safely get your children in and out of a car.

Legally, the use of parking bays in a privately owned car park is a matter of contract law, created by the signs in the car park, so it seems there really is little one can do, but vent their frustrations as best they can. In my opinion these spaces should only be used by parents with children using car seats. Older children should be perfectly able to get themselves in and out of a car on their own. Heavily pregnant women should also be entitled to park in these bays without question! As all us mothers know once you get past around the seven month mark, getting in and out of bed is difficult let alone getting in and out of a car in a tight space!

16 Responses

  1. Katherine

    Have you considered that maybe the spaces are being used by those with invisible disabilities when the disabled bays are full?
    Maybe there’s no car seat in the car as the parent has taken their newborn into the shop?
    Maybe that employee that’s parking in one of the spaces has an agreement with their employer and occupational health to allow them to park there because of chronic pain or mobility issues?
    I wish people would stop being so judgey judgey all the time about this (I regularly see posts in parenting groups).
    Sure there are people who abuse them, but for many they use them out of necessity – so until you know someone’s full story, maybe the judging should be put on hold.
    Parent and child spaces are a recent thing, so just be grateful when they exist and if there’s one free. If not, get on with life. There’s no legal obligation for any car park to provide them in the first place.

    • Charlotte

      I disaree. 9 times out of 10, this all comes down to laziness and ignorance. People simply cannot bear to walk any further than 10 meters to the shop door. You only have to look at places like the Trafford Centre where people actually mount the pavement instead of bothering themselves to walk the extra distance to the entrance.
      I went to my local sainsburys this week and followed a horse box into the car park and lo and behold, it parked in the last available parent and child bay leaving me to struggle with a 5 month old in a car seat and a pram, in a tight space. A trip to my local Tesco was no better. To my left, a man in a van smoking illegal substances and to my right, a mother returning to her car with 2 older children easily over the age of 7. Tesco state that their parent and child parking bays are intended for parents with children under the age of 2 and no notice is taken of this. On a rare occasion, these spaces may be used by less abled people for genuine reasons but to prevent them from being “judged”, the rest need to have a word with themselves and stop being lazy ignorant individuals. Until then, I will continue to pass their registration number to the customer service desk and request that they are asked to move their vehicle.

    • Nav

      I very much doubt that mother and baby parking spaces are being used by disabled users as in a large car park it is very rare to see disabled spaces full (there are legal requirements for these). Companies should not be marking employee car parking spaces as parent and baby, it is misleading to the consumer and probably unlawful as a result. At the end of the day the spaces are for parent and children, corporations choose to have these in the car park as it encourages parents to shop there. People can “just be grateful” or they can see a wrong and seek to correct it.

    • Rachel

      Occupational health would put them in a disabled bay I would imagine. Explain what you mean by an ‘invisible disability?’ The spaces are for room around them to get in and out, just like a parent bay, however, thats why they only really hand out disabled badges to those who struggle physically. A phyiscal disability is normal visual. You’re right about the car seat though.

      Like and agree with the blog. It’s generally some Middle Aged man who wants to be closer to the shop.

    • Katie

      Thank you Katherine, I could not have said it better myself. I have MS and when I have a flare up I park in a disabled bay. When there are none of these I have on several occasions used a parent and child bay. This has resulted in several arguments with me having to explain my condition to angry mothers and even show them my blue badge as proof.
      People choose to have children, I did not choose to be disabled.
      What the hell did mums do up until 10 years ago before these spaces were created?? They managed. Sure it can be tricky especially considering that cars are getting bigger and parking spots aren’t. However it’s a privilege, not a right and if you can’t get a parent and child spot and are pressed for space, then drive to the far corner of the car park and enjoy a leisurely stroll to the supermarket instead. It’s not difficult.

    • Jayne Exley

      Katherine do you have children? Have you ever experienced the frustration of nearly having your pushchair wiped out before even getting your child out of the car? If you can answer yes to both these questions then you have the patience of a saint!!!!!!!!

    • Gary

      I’m sorry but that’s a judgy attitude your using also! So it’s ok for a disabled person to park in a patent and toddler bay…but what would happen if a parent parked in a disabled bay!?!! Pandemonium….

  2. Emily

    I completely agree but I think mums and dads need to be careful before they judge sometimes. I was out with my dad, 2 month old baby and nephew and we parked in a parent spot and my dad had to go back to the car for something I had forgotten and all the parents looked at him like he was a criminal!

  3. Anna Chalk

    I am disabled and often find that non-disabled people use the parking space for disabled people. But I would never use a Mother & Child bay as I know how difficult it is for them on normal bays.

  4. Sally

    I am fine with people who may need to use these without children, but last time I went shopping with my baby daughter we had to park at the far side of the car park because one of the parent & child spaces was being used by a man waiting (in the driver’s seat) to pick up his wife. I am also infuriated by the people who think their dogs count as children in this instance!

  5. Tracy

    Completely agree with all of the above. As a mum of a 4 yr old and 11mnth old the parent and child bays make my shopping experience sooo much easier. It really is soooo difficult in some ordinary parking spaces to find the space to get the kids out and i’m only 5ft myself! It sets the tone normally for the rest of the shopping trip as i’m stressed or not stressed and the kids pick up on that. Rant away!

  6. Sue

    ‘deviants without children’……deviants? Oh for goodness sake!

  7. Caroline

    I completely agree with pretty much everything you’ve said being a mum to a 3yr old and 1yr old twins. It is such a nightmare getting my children out of the car in regular bays. The only thing you’ve said that I would challenge is about proximity to the store, if I have to go food shopping alone I have to go and hunt for one of the double seater trolleys for my twins to sit in whilst leaving the children temporarily in the car, this isn’t ideal but better than walking the 3 of them through the car park. I rely on the bays being close to the store front to cut down the amount of time my children are left and so I can keep an eye on the car whilst I’m gone. If the bays were further away it would be an even bigger nightmare for me!

  8. Becca w

    I agree with your post there are always triple the amount of dished spaces most which are not used and hardly and parent and child. A pregnant women should be able to use the space as she is becoming a parent she has a child. I’ve had someone shout at me before saying I have no child when I’m meeting my child’s grandparents and picking him up at the shop. Also my local alot of the spaces are used up by people picking up there children from school. Which Is frustrating for people needing the spaces. I just wish that they had double the amount of spaces they do instead of having around ten spaces for parents and child.

  9. Tim

    I would like to see a NEW area introduced!! The “I give a stuff about my car and won’t damage any others either” section……fed up with constant door dings in car parks……ESP when the perpetrators say “sorry didn’t realise you were IN THERE” – like that makes it any better!! Gggrrraaagggghhhhhhh!!!!!
    Ta

  10. K

    Check out this ‘Give me Space; a campaign for safer parking for families’ campaign which I saw recently on breakfast news. (I have no links to them!! It just made perfect sense to me). They agree with you entirely Christina. You can also request a free car sticker so that people are aware you need space to get your child safety in and out of the car.
    http://babyblooms.co.uk/givemespace/