Family Parenting

The Problem With Parent and Child Parking Spaces

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The Problem With Parent and Child Parking Spaces - title over a photo of a busy car park

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I’ll warn you now, this might turn into a bit of a rant. I read something on Facebook fairly recently about idiots without children, parking in parent and child parking spaces. While I agree that it’s very annoying when that happens, I don’t think that’s the real problem. Just a little side note, when I talk about those idiots, I hope it goes without saying that I’m not referring to anyone with a disabled badge – they obviously need the space more than I do and they are welcome to it. 

The idiots without children who park in those spaces don’t do it to inconvenience parents. Not really. They’re probably not even really idiots. Not all of them. They do it because it’s more convenient for them. I doubt they even think about the parents who drive into the carpark after them and have to circle several times, waiting for someone else to leave. They just want to park in a spot that’s close to the store and wide enough to not risk getting their car scratched.

I get it

Parking spaces are too narrow. That’s one of the reasons why I need a parent and child space. It is near impossible for me to get a toddler out of both sides of the car in a normal parking space, if there are cars parked on either side of me. I can barely get myself out of the car in that situation. So I have to circle the carpark until a parent and child parking space is free, especially if I’m on my own with the twins.

So it’s annoying when people who don’t have children park in the only parking spaces that really work for me. I’m OK if I can find a parking space on the end of a row, but then I have to leave the twins in the car while I go to get a trolley. Then I have to get both toddlers out of the car and into the trolley, while watching for cars, and push the heavy trolley (toddlers aren’t light and I am not strong), that usually has at least one wonky wheel, across the carpark, dodging traffic.

The real problem with parent and child parking spaces

is that they’re in the wrong place! I don’t need to be close to the shop. What I need is a space that’s wide enough and a safe route from my car to the entrance. I don’t care if that’s the other side of the carpark. As long as there’s a path to the shop and trolleys close by.

If the parent and child spaces were further from the entrance, no one would want to park there unless they had to. And then I wouldn’t have to drive round in circles, listening to the twins asking me why we aren’t going into the shops and when they can get out of the car.

The problem with the current location (in most supermarkets anyway) is that they’re where everyone wants to park! And everyone knows that they’re not monitored and rarely enforced, if ever. So people know they can park there and nothing will be done about it.

I’m sure lots of parents will disagree with me

I can imagine mums and dads everywhere, shaking their heads at their screens. They don’t don’t want to park further away from the supermarket, anymore than the people without children do. And trust me, if I had a choice, I’d park right next to the doors every time. But if it meant I could park easily and not have to squeeze my kids out of tiny gaps, trying not to knock other cars with the doors… well, sacrifices have to be made, right?

Of course… that doesn’t mean that it’s OK for people without children to park in the parent and child parking spaces. Really, it’s just selfish. But, let’s face it. People are selfish (in general) and it’s not going to stop unless the supermarkets start enforcing the rules and start doing something about it when people without children park there (with the exception of heavily pregnant women, in my opinion – they’re just carrying their child on the inside instead of on their hip). Or… make the spaces less attractive to people without children by not putting them right in front of the entrance.

Oh… and if you’re one of those people without children who think it’s OK to park in parent and child parking spaces… just don’t. It’s not OK. It’s mean. And no one likes a meanie pants.

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