Undercover reporter reveals just how much shoppers abuse parent and child parking spaces

"At this time of day, I don’t think it’s a problem. All the kids are at school and there are loads of free places"


Last summer, MadeForMums shard a story about a woman who was furious for being fined for using a parent and child parking space when she was heavily pregnant


We also did a bit of delving to find out at what age the supermarkets reckoned kids should be before parents stopped using the delegated spaces.

Now, The Mail On Sunday has done its own bit of research, staking out a Sainsbury’s car park in South-East London to see how many people used the spaces when they really shouldn’t.

They found that, in a day, 30 shoppers used the spaces with not a child in sight.

Some were apologetic when approached – “I’ve got to hold my hands up, I’ve learnt my lesson and won’t do it again,” said one BMW driver – but others weren’t so sorry.

‘I used to have a small hatchback so I would go in the normal spaces. But I have a larger car now and it’s quite expensive so I don’t want it getting damaged,” said a woman driving a Kia.

“When I arrived there were lots of other free spaces. If that wasn’t the case, I would happily go and park elsewhere.”

Another guy pulled in and had a nap in his car for 30 minutes.

And yet another shopper defended his actions: 

“At this time of day, I don’t think it’s a problem. All the kids are at school and there are loads of free places,” he said. 


As you can imagine, the story really got people talking – and got well over 3,000 comments.

“Getting my baby out of the car seat behind is something I have to do with the door opened to the maximum it can open,” said Olivia from Birmingham.

“Not to mention how unsafe it is to park the pushchair behind the car rather than the side of it because there’s no room in normal parking bays.

“When my baby is at home with her dad and I do the shopping without her I use a normal parking spot. It’s not damn hard to just obey the rules.”

On the other side of the coin, Ju said:

“It’s raining, it’s 9.30pm at night, just finished work, disabled and mother and toddlers parent and kids spaces lay empty. I’m 200 yards away – I get wet going in then again coming out along with my shopping.

“I think at these times maybe change the rules, and yes – I would move if all of a sudden all the spaces fill up.”

What do you think?

Have you ever had an issue trying to find a parent and child space? Is it ever OK to park in one if you’re not with a child? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

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