Earlier this month, Aisling Surguy, a mum-of-three who’s officially had it with the abuse of parent-and-child parking spaces, started an online petition to stop people sans kids ‘nicking’ the allocated spaces at stores.
The details of the petition are straightforward – all parents of children under 5 should be issued with an official parking permit to prevent others exploiting the fact that the family parking bays are not policed.
And Aisling is faaaarrr from alone in her vitriole; when madeformums posted the story on their Facebook page the grievances with the current non-regulated system were numerous, including:
1. Lazy drivers without children nicking the spaces
“People only park in them without a child because they are lazy!” FB user Jessica fumed. “All they need to do is put parent and child spaces at the back of the car park – parents only need the extra space, not to necessarily be closer.”
2. Parents with older children using the spaces
“It should be parent and buggy! Not parent and child! Children can walk!” said Emma.
“Winds me up when you get parents with older children/teenagers park in them and when confronted they say I am a parent and this is my child,” Jade added. “I need the extra room to open the door wide enough to get my baby out of the car seat.”
“Personally think if the law states booster seat to be used until 12-years-old then they can use the spaces but once they don’t need it then don’t use them,” Laura said.
3. Parents not getting their kids out of the car
“Also annoying is people who use them and don’t get their children out the car,” Kelly said. “When I went shopping this week all spaces were taken and children and Dad were sat in a car whilst mum was shopping. If your children aren’t getting out the car why do you need a parent child space?”
4. Feeling too guilty to use the spaces
“I think the permits are a good idea. I’ve always felt too guilty to park in these spaces even when my daughter was very little,” said a (slightly) less irate mum, Nancy. “It would have made it feel more legitimate if I would have had a permit.”
I personally don’t get the guilt spiel, nor do I necessarily agree that the bays should be reserved for ‘buggies only’ – there’s a definite safety risk involved in wrangling kids into and out-of vehicles in tight spaces. However, I commiserate completely with these mums’ frustration(s), and the issue, ultimately, is not just about parking lot logistics; if grown adults can’t even stick to tacit rules and behave with common decency, what hope will there ever be for the kids?