In the midst of the school holidays supermarkets and shopping centres up and down the country will have an influx of parent visitors with kids in tow.
These locations have designated parent and child parking spaces, designed for convenience for drivers with young families. These spaces are roomier than a usual parking space and are found within close proximity of the entrance doors. This makes them very tempting to other motorists, often leading to misuse.
A bugbear (to put it lightly) of young parents is being unable to park in a space designated to them. Confused.com research found almost two thirds of parents spotted misuse of these spaces, leading to them having to park elsewhere. Furthermore, of those motorists misusing spaces 31% said they did so because there were no other spaces available. Another 31% parked in a parent and child space because there were plenty of others available.
When you visit a car park with designated parent and child parking upon entry you will likely see signage that informs you of specific parking restrictions. Privately owned car parks are subject to contract law and it’s the discretion of the owner as to how they set out to restrict parking. Therefore, the responsibility is on you to ensure that you read signage displayed around the car park.
If a parking space is reserved for parents and children anybody misusing this space can receive a parking penalty notice. Most car parks will allow these spaces to be used by heavily pregnant women, although this needs confirming before parking.
Generally the cut-off is 12 years old, although there are exceptions for older children with special needs or disabilities. Restrictions and exceptions can be found on signage in the car park you are using.
Yes, some people believe that they can use these spaces simply by virtue of them being a parent, which isn’t the case. Having empty baby seats in the back of your car doesn’t mean you need the extra room and close proximity to the shops.
If you have spotted somebody misusing a parent and child spot you can report it to the supermarket or shopping centre. However, as a significant portion of these car parks are privately owned there is often little that can be done.
Often motorists will turn to social media as a means of shaming motorists misusing these spaces, racking up retweets and likes and sparking intense debates. This tactic may appear drastic but it often works effectively at damning those misusing these valuable spaces.
With more cars on the road than ever before demand for parent and child spaces has never been greater. Do you regularly use parent and child spaces? Have you found someone misusing this parking and if so, what have you done? Let us know on our Facebook page.