Should motorists be fined for using parent and child spaces?

February 12, 2018

I’m pretty sure it’s a struggle that most parents who drive have faced at some point in their lives or another.

You pull into the car park of your local supermarket, and hunt down the parent and child spaces in the hopes of finding a space close to the entrance.

You then witness a lone person leaving their car with no child in sight, yet they’ve clearly parked in a parent and child space.

Is this wrong? Does it make you angry?

I mean, parent and child spaces are great for those with children. They’re close to the entrance, plus they have more room which makes it easier to get children in and out of the car safely, along with a car seat or pushchair if needed.

Although frustrating to witness someone childless parking in these spaces, it’s not actually illegal to do so. I guess, it’s just frowned upon.

Of course, the person you witnessed could have dropped their child and partner off at the entrance whilst they go to look for a parking space. In which case, they’re well within their rights to park there. It’s for exactly this reason why I would never ‘tell off’ someone who appears to be without a child for parking in these spaces. You just never know!

However, should those who deliberately park in parent and child spaces when they have no children with them be fined?

According to the Mirror one in ten of us say they use them as they’re NOT worried about being penalised. After all, these parking spaces aren’t monitored. There’s no-one patrolling them to ensure they’re being used as intended, so why should those who use them without children in tow give it a second thought?

Well, they could now face an on the spot fine of £25. I bet that would make them think twice?

Harrison Woods, managing director at, told The Sun :

“Parent-and-child parking at supermarkets is a hot topic and often creates strong opinion, as demonstrated by our survey results which show most people want some sort of punishment for motorists who use supermarket parent-and-child parking spaces when they shouldn’t be.”

What do you think of these fines? Do you think it’s a good idea? Would it put you off parking there if you didn’t have a child with you?

I guess the same can be said for disabled parking spaces too. Should we fine motorists who use these spaces when they shouldn’t too?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


  • Tash

    February 16, 2018 at 12:13 am

    What are your thoughts on pregnant women using the parent & children’s parking? I was recently having a discussion with a friend about this… I’m currently 8mths pregnant and we’ve had some really hot days here close to 40 degrees all week) she told me I should just park in the parent & children’s parking… and that she would if she was me… #ThatFridayLinky

  • Chloe

    February 16, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Hi, I think a small fine may discourage some but not all as it may be hard to enforce. Great idea in theory though #ThstFridayLinky

  • relentlesslypurple

    February 16, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I agree with the fine to be honest. I understand people want to get close to the store for different reasons but I hate having to walk the girls through a busy carpark because people are using parent & child spaces without children. I won’t ever have a go at someone myself though, as you mentioned, you never know if they have dropped their partner and child at the entrance etc #ThatFridayLinky

  • Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies

    February 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

    A fine would probably prevent some chancers. But there are always mitigating circumstances. Should we let the elderly share the spaces..? x

  • Enda Sheppard

    February 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

    It really is one of those things that are hard to challenge, because we can never be certain the person using a disability spot does not have some infirmity that is not immediately obvious. But those so and sos who use the family spot and obviously have no children with them: odious. All too common, unfortunately. #ThatFridayLinky

  • David Pearson

    February 16, 2018 at 9:14 am

    My youngest is now 7 and technically I could use these spaces but don’t. Why? Because my children are all capable of getting into and out of the car themselves now. I prefer to leave those spaces for people with younger children, maybe those who need help out of car seats and where the extra space is needed.

  • Squaredawaydad

    February 16, 2018 at 9:41 am

    I think it’s a good idea in principal, but I think there will be grey areas where it will be hard to enforce. They were a life saver for me when my kids were younger – now I deliberately park far away to give them more exercise. #ThatFridayLinky

  • mrs mummy harris

    February 16, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Fines for disabled AND parent spaces should be enforced. I get so frustrated at lack of spaces at our local Tescos. Especially when you have a toddler who doesn’t want to be carried and wants to walk everywhere. I don’t want to put him in danger of crossing lots of roads and also the ins and outs of getting car seats when they’re younger needs a little bit more space! #thatfridaylinky

  • Out Of Depth Dad

    February 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I do think fines would be a good idea. People uses these spaces, when they don’t have children, or aren’t with their children, is just another example of our ‘me-centric’ culture. “I’ll park here illegally, cause I’m just nipping into the shop”, “I won’t bother indicating, because I know where I’m driving to”, “I’ll speed down this road because I’ve never hit anyone here so probably won’t today – and I’m in hurry”. A bit more consideration would work wonders. #ThatFridayLinky

  • Dawn McCracken

    February 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Wide car parking spaces mean your car is less likely to be damaged by other people’s doors. Spaces in older car parks are really thin! Cars have got a lot bigger, so if you know a ding in your wing is going to cost you thousands, a wide un-monitored space would be very attractive.

    So as the damage is what is driving the motivation then maybe a sticker that takes off the paint when removed would also do it.

  • Jeff Wood

    February 16, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    I think putting a fine in olace would be a great idea. It frustrates me even to this day when I see it.
    If fines are given, I would love to see the money go to local parent programs that the city offers. Maybe more help could be given with the funds gained.

  • Misa Buckley

    February 16, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    I’m not sure how enforceable it’d be, but I definitely agree in principal. #ThatFridayLinky

  • Daddy Poppins

    February 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    It makes me angry but I can’t see fining people ever happening

  • Martina

    February 16, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Oh I have to be honest. (Please note that I am hanging my head in shame whilst I am typing) I parked in one recently without the kids for the first time ever. I promise it was the first time. A lady spotted me and started to tell me off. Did I move? No. Came up with some cock and bull story about my kids being with their grandma in the adjacent library. I did get my comeuppance though as I was so stressed about it that I forgot half my shopping, then ended up going into the library afterwards to look like I was picking the kids up. And then skulked back to the car pretending to be on the phone to my mum asking where she had gone now with the kids. I felt dreadful and will NEVER EVER EVER do it again. I promise! (End of confession) Please don’t hate me for it.

  • Pen

    February 16, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    This is tough. I often feel guilty using mum and baby spaces now that Cygnet is 3. He is still in his car seat (obviously) and I still have to lift him out of it and I put him in the buggy, but he isn’t a baby. I often feel that there are people much more deserving of me. Pen x #ThatFridayLinky

  • Gavin Leonard

    February 17, 2018 at 8:11 am

    I don’t think it would be enforced

  • David – Tales of Two Children

    February 17, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    I’m an advocate of fines, but not sure who would police it. Difficult. I don’t think superstores would want to be linked to parking enforcement arguments. But we obviously can’t leave it to the public, because a certain element don’t give two hoots about reserved parking, parent and child or disabled. Those I’ve challenged and seen challenged by others just don’t care. Great post.

  • Fi Anderson

    February 18, 2018 at 1:07 am

    As a Disabled Parent in a wheelchair I think those with children have very similar issues when it comes to people taking spaces allocated to their particular circumstance #ThatFridayLinky

  • Jo – Pickle and Poppet

    February 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    I do get really cross when people park in the spaces without children. Having to get a toddler out of the car and into a pushchair I need the extra space, then if I’m getting my son out of the car I have to squeeze the pushchair down the side of the cars to be able to open the door for him to climb out. The alternative being either leaving the pushchair at the back of the car with my daughter in or get my son out and have him out of the car whilst I manoeuvre to get my daughter out. Neither are safe. I would prefer the parent spaces to be at the back of the carpark, they wouldn’t be used so much by others then.
    Our Tesco is starting to fine people, however it is enforceable as they aren’t official traffic wardens, and people know that.
    I think most parents would happily walk further if they could get the children out of the car safer. Maybe the solution is not to fine people but to rethink where they are placed in the car park?

    1. Jo – Pickle and Poppet

      February 18, 2018 at 8:37 pm


  • Lisa Pomerantz

    February 19, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Here in the US, to the best of my knowledge, we do not have such a parking status. If we did, and it was being abused by a non-breeder, I would sure be angry! Just like the handicapped parking. #thatfridaylinky xo

  • Musings of a tired mummy…zzz…

    February 22, 2018 at 7:43 am

    I think people should be fined because it is so inconsiderate. Parents having to negotiate a tantruming child, pushchair etc need the extra space to open car doors and wrestle children into car seats. I think there should be bigger spaces available for vans as I find it is often those that take the spaces because they can’t fit in normal sized spaces. A cashpoint space or two would be helpful to those that just need a couple of minutes but that would be hard to police #thatfridaylinky

  • The Willow Tree

    February 23, 2018 at 8:12 am

    I have to say I get so frustrated. Many a times Ive parked in a standard space and struggled to get the car out if baby is asleep. Its caused me to weep! So having a parent and child space gives us so much more space – we have so much as a parent. I dont think people realise the difficulties or have at least forgotten! #blogcrush

  • Alice | Letters to my Daughter

    March 3, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I think it comes down to human decency and compassion. If it’s 10pm and the carpark is empty, I’d have no qualms about parking in a parent and child space without a child in tow. If it was the middle of the day on a busy Saturday and the P&C spaces were in short supply, then I’d leave them for those that need it.

    I think fines would work, but perhaps they could only be issued during peak times because otherwise it’s a bit pedantic.

    And congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the #BlogCrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂

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