A simple car trip becomes so much more complicated once you become a parent.
It starts when you’re pregnant, and your massive bump means you can’t slip into the driver’s side the way you used to. Then comes the baby phase, when you’re trying to manoeuvre a capsule in and out of the back seat. There’s the tricky business with the pram or the stroller.
You’re trying not to damage any of the cars around you, and at the same time, keep a close eye on your kids. It can all get a bit stressful.
In the UK, parents are banding together to campaign for safer parking. The Give Me Space campaign is the brainchild of Lisa Roberts, a business owner and mum-of-two. She did a survey of 2000 parents and carers, and found that 90 per cent often can’t find a parents’ parking space. Ninety-three per cent struggle with the lack of space to remove car seats and prams. On top of that, 90 per cent of pregnant women have struggled to get in or out of a car, because of other cars being parked too close. More than half of them say they’ve had to put excessive pressure on their bump just to be able to drive away.
Roberts is pushing for the government to introduce parent parking recommendations for all car park owners – wider spaces, reserved for parents and parents-to-be. Currently, car park owners are legally obliged to provide disabled spaces, but whether or not they provide parent spaces is up to them.
Roberts has started a petition, which already has more than 3000 signatures. As a temporary measure, she’s been supplying people with “give me space” stickers, to ask other drivers not to park too close.
Roberts has also been asking people to share their personal stories to support the campaign.
“When I realised that the adjacent car had parked so close to my car that there was no way I could get the baby’s car seat through the gap, I had two choices: either leave the baby with a stranger so I could reverse my car or give my car keys to a stranger and ask them to reverse it for me,” wrote grandmother Liz. “Neither were very appealing choices!”