Yesterday I shared a petition on my Facebook page, calling for people to be fined for improper use of parent & child parking bays. Most people agreed with me, sharing their own experiences faced when struggling with car doors and tight spaces. However, there were a handful of people who disagreed- stating that we were just lazy.
It takes a lot for me to get angry, but their attitude really got my goat. But you know, I thought to myself maybe they just didn’t understand, maybe they couldn’t see why we seek out those spaces and get so frustrated when they are full.
I think the main reason non-parents think we are lazy is the fact that the parent bays are almost always near the store. They think we like to use them so we, the adults don’t have to walk so far. Those people probably think that wheelchair users are lazy too- they have wheelchairs, they can wheel their way to the front no? No!!
Whether the following is the true reason for them being at the front of the store I have no idea, but to me, when I have a toddler and a baby to deal with I very much appreciate there being as little distance between the car and the shop as possible. I do not want to have to walk from one side of the car park to the other, worrying whether my child will slip loose and run in front of a car. So yes, being near the store is better for us. Safety for the child comes first- not our laziness.
It’s all about the space!
However, even if those spaces were right at the back of the car park we would still seek them out. Why? SPACE. Have you ever tried to get a car seat out of a car when you are parked 20cm away from the car next to you? It is near on impossible. Ok so forget the car seat, just get the child out, right? Ok, but you do know I am not a contortionist – I am not able to bend myself in unnatural ways to be able to lean in and get them out. I need that door wide open and I’m sure you don’t want me to hit your car do you?
Sometimes we will be lucky and there will be a space with another space next to it. Fab you think, I can reach in and get out my child no problem. Off you go and do your shopping without a second thought. Then you return to your car to find someone has parked so close to your car that you cannot get your child back inside. Now what?
Do you know what I have had to do before? I have had to squeeze myself into my car, leaving my baby and toddler stood on their own, just so I could reverse out and make space to open the doors. If people have issues with parents leaving kids in the car I am sure they will have something to say about those of us who have left them OUT of the car!
Parents are not lazy, parents NEED those spaces so that their children are safe. So they can be put in and taken out of their car seats correctly.
One of the comments on my page said that we were discriminating against those who choose not to have children. Are they serious?? How selfish of us all to NEED larger spaces. Us having those spaces makes no difference to you and your life Mr I don’t want kids. But you being too lazy to find a normal space and parking in parent bays DOES make a difference to us.
When should you stop using them?
The discussion also brought up the matter of age of kids. One mum said that she had stopped using them now her child is 4 as she felt she wasn’t entitled to use them. Well, Little G is 4 and I would still be using them if I didn’t have a toddler too. I think if your child needs support getting in and out of their car seat then you are entitled to use them. Trying to do up a buckle when you cannot open the door wide enough is difficult enough, let alone if it is pouring with rain or you are dealing with a tantrum or something else! So don’t feel bad, use those spaces if you need them.
If your child can get in and out of the car on their own then you do NOT need the space. Got a teenager? No- that does not count as parent and child I am afraid. Oh and if your child is NOT WITH YOU then you don’t get to park in them either!
When do you start?
This leads me on to the last point discussed in the thread- pregnancy. What are your thoughts? I can tell you that when I was pregnant with G there was an occasion where I left a supermarket car park in tears as I wasn’t entitled to park in the parent bays, yet I physically couldn’t get out of the car in a normal space. My belly was so big that trying to get out of a small door opening was literally impossible. Thankfully having two small children means I can park in the bays now that I am pregnant again but I think they should be accessible to first time mums and their big bellies too.
What do you think?
If you want to sign the petition, here is the link to my thread on FB. Join in the discussion there or leave a comment here, let me know your opinion on this.