Of the many rage-inducing situations we encounter at the supermarket, disputes over parent and child parking bays must be near the top of the list.
Family parking space misuse causes fury among parents who see childless, able-bodied shoppers pulling into the spaces to do their weekly shop.
While the parent and child bays may be easy enough to spot – even if they’re always full – that doesn’t mean we’re clued-up on the rules surrounding the use of these spaces. Is there an age limit on their use? Are they monitored by staff? Can you be fined for parking in one without a child?
Helpfully, Wales Online recently asked around the major supermarkets to find out exactly what their policies are on using parent and child parking bays.
Here’s what they discovered:
Family parking bays at Sainsbury’s are intended for parents with children under 12 years old – and they’re the only supermarket to say that they issue fines for incorrect use.
A spokesperson said: “Our parking attendants patrol the parent/child spaces to make sure they are being used only by customers with children.
“If our attendants find any customers misusing these spaces, they will in the first instance ask them to move, and if they refuse, they will be issued with a Parking Charge Notice.”
A statement from Asda said: “We allow parents with children up to 12 years old travelling in a child/booster seat to park in these specific spaces and have dedicated attendants who monitor the car park.”
“Safety of children is paramount so our child and parent parking spaces are situated close to the store with a safety walkway around the edge to help parents keep their children safe while loading their car with shopping or pushchairs.”
Aldi appears to have no hard-and-fast rules on using their parent and child spaces.
A spokesperson said: “Although we don’t enforce strict regulations, the parent and child car parking spaces are honoured and appreciated by the large majority of our customers.”
A Tesco spokesperson said their bays are for customers who are shopping with primary-school-aged children, toddlers and babies.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for all our customers to shop with us, including people with young children, so we offer designated wider spaces within a convenient distance to our stores’ entrances.”
Waitrose, Morrisons and Lidl supermarkets were all contacted, but didn’t comment on their policies.