Those parent and child parking spaces are very helpful. But what if the child in question isn’t quite here yet? Are you allowed to use them while pregnant?
There seems to be a lot of confusion about this issue, so let’s clear things up a bit.
Can You Use Parent and Child Parking When Pregnant?
The woman was nine months pregnant. That means she was heavily, visibly pregnant. And yet, she was told that she “didn’t count as a parent yet.”
So who was in the wrong here?
In a statement, Asda pointed out that “our disclaimers do state the child must be with you in the car to warrant parking in the mother and baby spaces, which is why the lady received a ticket.”
And that’s really the long and short of it. Can you use a parent and child parking space when pregnant? The answer, we’re sorry to say, is “it depends”.
What Does the Law Say about Parent and Child Spaces?
The problem is, there are no UK laws governing parent and child parking. Parking bays in privately-owned car parks are governed by contract law – and the contract in question will vary from car park to car park.
Supermarkets and other retail stores can restrict the use of some bays to parents with young children, but only if the terms and conditions are clearly written on prominently-displayed signs.
There are no universal laws here. Whoever owns the car park is free to set out their own terms and conditions for when parent and child bays can and cannot be used.
So What Should I Do when Heavily Pregnant?
The story we mentioned earlier has a happy ending. The pregnant woman who was fined for parking in a parent and child bay eventually had her fine cancelled.
Whether she should have been fined in the first place is up for debate. But the fact is, heavily pregnant women need extra room to manoeuvre. And if it’s painful to walk, being able to park closer to the store can be a massive help.
When Can’t I Park in a Parent and Child Space?
Again, this will vary from store to store.
Generally speaking, the spaces are intended for parents with children. So if you’re parking without your children, then you should have no need for the extra room these spaces provide, so you probably wouldn’t be able to justify parking in them. Many shops are starting to crack down on this behaviour.
Similarly, the spaces are designed to make it easier for parents with small children to negotiate their prams and carriers. As such, most stores will specify an upper age limit for your children. In the story we linked to above, Asda apparently confirmed that their parent and child spaces are designed for parents with children no older than 12 years old.
As a general rule, you should only park in parent and child spaces if you genuinely need to use them. If you park in one at a time when you would have been perfectly fine parking elsewhere, then you’ll only be denying the space to someone who really could have used it.
Got Any Other Questions About Driving While Pregnant?
We have many resources for pregnant women who are worried about how their condition might affect their driving.
Here’s our guide to when you should stop driving when pregnant. We also have an essential guide to child car seat safety, and a guide to the do’s and don’ts for when children can sit in the front of your car.
But our most important bit of advice is this: For total peace of mind, make sure you’re covered with comprehensive car insurance for the duration of your pregnancy and beyond that knows what you need. We offer payment towards replacing a child’s car seat if damaged in an accident as well as £200 handbag cover.