Parent & Child car parking spaces – I think we can all safely agree that these are a huge bone of contention for many!
I’m sure you’ve seen this argument on Facebook, or even in the car park in person, a thousand times by now. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, there are so many contradicting arguments and myths floating around (from both perspectives) that we thought we’d address them, once and for all! We’ll be taking a look at…
- Are there laws surrounding parent & child parking?
- What is the purpose of parent & child parking?
- Common misconceptions.
We hope that this helps to settle this age old debate!
‘I can’t be fined for parking there without a child, right?’
These spaces are a courtesy, not a legal right so it’s not actually illegal to park in them without children (usually the age limit for this is 12 years old, depending on the firm), or without getting your children out (because you DON’T need the space if the kids stay in the car). However, whether you can be fined for misusing them is a bit of a grey area. Many supermarkets do threaten a fine if their supermarket is run by a private firm. You should read the terms and conditions of parking signposted whenever you park at a car park as their rules will vary, but yes, you CAN be be given a PCN (Parking Charge Notice).
There’s lots of speculation about whether these fines are legally enforceable; they are, but you can appeal.
‘How did we cope back in the day?’
Back in ‘the day’, the average car was smaller, parking spaces weren’t as small or sought after, less people drove, thus there was less traffic and less potential for your toddler to unexpectedly fling himself out of your grasp into oncoming traffic.
The very point of these spaces is to improve safety for families as the extra space prevents errant door flingers from damaging other cars, and gives space to safely place a buggy and a brood of kids out of harms way. We coped, ‘back in the day’, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t improve safety these days, right?
‘Disabled badge holders shouldn’t park in them!’
Incorrect. By law, if there aren’t any disabled spaces available, a disabled badge holder can actually park in any space. You can find out more about where disabled people can legally park here.
I’m pregnant… Can I park here?
This is a difficult question with no concrete answer, sorry! Usually wardens will use their common sense if you’re clearly heavily pregnant, but there have been cases of pregnant mummies being fined, which is pretty unfair. It’s a grey area, your best bet is to read the rules of the supermarket or shopping centre you’re visiting to ensure you don’t risk a PCN. I remember calling our local ASDA to make sure we could do this when I was pregnant!
‘But I have kids in the car, so I can park there without issue and nip in without them, right?’
Like we mentioned earlier, if your kids aren’t getting out… you don’t need the space. The point of the space is to be able to get children in and out more safely. If they’re staying in the car, you’re defeating the purpose of the space, and you can be fined by private parking firms, as this mum did.
We hope that this helps you when it comes to discussions about parent & child parking!
Love from Team BBY. Xx