My eldest son picked up his first (and only) swear word in a Chesterfield supermarket car park – and not from me I might add!
Because I was a parent, with a child, I needed to park in a parent and child car parking space.
However, as usual the spaces were filled with cars that on closer inspection did not have any evidence of small children attached to them – you know the signs: baby on board sticker, a booster seat and discarded sweet wrappers all over the back seat.
And that got me to thinking: there are fines for abusing disabled parking spaces, or for spending too long in a supermarket car park, but no penalties for misusing parent and child spaces. Is that really fair?
I can sense the opinion divide on this issue, even as I write. There are many good reasons why there are parent and child spaces in car parks.
The first and foremost reason is safety. Trying to control a hyperactive toddler while walking through a busy car park has caused many prematurely aborted shopping trips in my household. Secondly, there’s a reason for all that extra space in a parent and child space.
Have you ever tried getting a baby which is securely fastened into its car seat, out of the car in question?
It requires the contortion efforts worthy of a place in the final of Britain’s Got Talent, never mind a wee bit of extra space.
Thirdly, and this is probably the reason which will hit a nerve with most drivers, getting children out of cars requires doors to be fully opened.
In a normal parking space this will inevitably cause damage to the neighbouring car.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to explain all this to the woman who was abusing a parent and child space.
I pulled up beside her and asked politely, as I had a baby and a toddler with me – and no other spaces were available, –please could I have the space she was parked in.
She did give me her space but not before she screamed a four-letter tirade at me that tailed off by telling me to ‘get a life’.
If she’d have hung around then she would have heard my reply: “I’d love to, but I’ve got two small children.”
by Anna Melton