Foolish parents and very young children in car parks

(62 Posts)

<<very judgey, deal with it>>

So today I've been to the farm shop. It has quite a big car park and is very naice. It also has a petting farm/playpark place. Lovely. Very popular with families. As I came back to my car I saw a family parked nearby getting all their stuff together obviously for a trip to said playpark. They had got their very young son out (maybe 18 months at the most) and they got their pushchair and they got out a ball. Which they gave to him, he dropped and ran after and they sorted of carried on milling around. In no way was he under their control to be safe from traffic. Finally dad felt the pushchair was sufficiently laden and they set off towards the park in a straggly row of three with child completely free range - in fact he nearly walked in to me coming the other way and I sent him towards parents. Then a HUGE car drove in to the car park and they work up a bit and picked him up. He screamed. Car passed and dad put him down to continue his free range rampage. When last seen they were at the end of the car park, mum out of sight and dad at least two metres away from and in front of the child - who was walking right next to the boots and bonnets of the parked cars. None of the drivers of which would have been able to see him at all. All they would have seen is an adult male walking along two metres away.
AIBU to think these parents were fools who will be spending time in A&E with this child as a result of an RTA at some point. I really wish I'd said something to them sad Were we the only parents to have 'carpark rules' - always hold hands, don't walk right behind cars, stand very still whilst I unlock the car and if you're too young to do that you get held on to.

SantanaLopez Sat 20-Apr-13 14:01:26

YANBU. It's terrifying to see.

abbathehorse Sat 20-Apr-13 14:04:29

YANBU at all - just learning to drive and this is my nightmare, running someone over who I don't see.

WorriedMummy73 Sat 20-Apr-13 14:04:54

First thing I always say when we get out of the car is 'get on the fuckingpath!!!

oldnewmummy Sat 20-Apr-13 14:06:35

My son is 6 and I still insist on holding his hand in car parks etc.

kelda Sat 20-Apr-13 14:07:35

YANBU. Car parks are probably the most dangerous places for small children, and they need to be constantly supervised.

thebeastandbeauty Sat 20-Apr-13 14:08:28


Yep, hand-holding rule applies when in a car park. Common sense.

ivykaty44 Sat 20-Apr-13 14:10:12

You need a licence, a written test and an on road test to drive a car, you need a licence to own a gun, you need a licence to own a tv but you do not have to pass any type of test to become a parent or even get a licence - weird isn't it?

specialsubject Sat 20-Apr-13 14:11:32

I'm thinking of the thread the other week about why you should reverse into parking spaces.

one of the many reasons is that you then have more of a chance of seeing the loose kid running about the car park. Or on the pavement as you come out of your house.

Crinkle77 Sat 20-Apr-13 14:13:04

YANBU. If their child then got ran over they would probably blame the driver

A man ran after me and stopped me in the street to talk to me. He was a retired pediatrician. Lovely man. He thanked me for having DD (2 yo) on reins. He said that he had seen too many children have accidents when they weren't under parental control. Then, another person heard the conversation and said his 3 yo niece had died in an RTA.

Keep your child up, hands held or reins.


It's scary, when I'm parking and I see a toddler off reins and running around heading in my direction. I don't like moving out in case I can't see them, but they're actually right there and I hit them, they're too tiny to be seen and it's so easy to get hit.

BlastAndDalmatians Sat 20-Apr-13 14:26:32

YANBU. My 15 month old goes mad for walking outside, it's currently his favourite thing. But he has reins on or holds hands (or both) and is carried across roads and in car parks. Non negotiable. Seen so many little ones just running free and it scares me. I have only just stopped holding my eight year old's hand across roads.

HobKnob Sat 20-Apr-13 14:28:55


Mine are 2 and 4 and it's an unbreakable rule in our household- hold hands in ANY kind of car park.

Wow - comforting to know dh and I are not alone. He was a perfectly adorable little chap too. I hope they keep him safe sad

It was always an unbreakable rule with no negotiation when the DCs were small- hold hands or carried in a car park. Don't walk close to the cars. Get on a path as soon as possible

You just cannot allow little children to wander around a car park.

Angelico Sat 20-Apr-13 14:39:47

YANBU. It drives me mad that reins fell from favour for a while although thankfully seem to be making a comeback.

Pozzled Sat 20-Apr-13 14:47:59

Yanbu. My DD2 is 22 months, and absolutely desperate to walk everywhere. She also absolutely hates holding hands. However, my rule is she holds hands or gets carried anywhere near cars, plus wears her little life backpack near busy roads etc.

This means that I spend a lot of time walking down the street with a frantically struggling and screaming toddler in my arms. But if that's what it takes to keep her safe, then so be it.

'This means that I spend a lot of time walking down the street with a frantically struggling and screaming toddler in my arms. But if that's what it takes to keep her safe, then so be it.'

Absolutely. Our HV told us to treat dd1 like a piece of luggage under our arm if she was tantrumming. Waving arms out one side and legs the other - very funny but also restrained and safe.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 20-Apr-13 14:55:27

I almost had this happen in my own driveway with my own child. sad

Dh was gardening as I returned home. I usually reverse in to get beside dh's car. Swung the car round and in and all of a sudden dd2 was beside the bonnet of my car as it came round. I slammed on the brakes and shouted at her and at dh for letting her go whilst I was trying to park. She's three. I couldn't see her over my bonnet.

She has form for running off. At school, at the shops, on the path on the walk to school. She is a nightmare. I'm the mum constantly hollering at the small girl, or dragging her along whilst she has a tantrum because she doesn't want to hold my hand. She is an absolute pain in the arse when it comes to walking anywhere.

Totally agree Northern I have witnessed a couple of near misses where the bloody stupid parents weren't watching/keeping their child under control. Luckily nothing terrible happened.
I'm probably at risk of being over anxious near traffic/car park situations sometimes, rather that than totally blasé about it though.

PimpMyHippo Sat 20-Apr-13 14:59:46

This is my nightmare as a driver, of not seeing a small child because they aren't tall enough to be visible - we used to live on a housing estate with lots of children playing in the cul-de-sac, and reversing out of the driveway was heartstopping when they were whizzing by on scooters without a care in the world and no adults to be seen!

buildingmycorestrength Sat 20-Apr-13 15:21:54

Can I ask what people do about walking along the path? I was terrible at letting the kids scooter off in front of me, and now I look back and think they are lucky to have survived. People can just pull out of a driveway and that's it.

ArtemisKelda Sat 20-Apr-13 15:24:37

My son is 6 and I still insist on holding his hand in car parks etc.


Me too, we've always had car park rules.

MrsDeVere Sat 20-Apr-13 15:30:04

Mine are used to me saying screeching CAR PARK
whenever we are in one.

Children see a lot of parked cars. They are not going to think about the cars reversing and trying to park. All those drivers so intent on finding a good place that they forget to look for anything else.

So I am extra careful, as a pedestrian and when I am driving. Everyone is distracted in a car park.

KateShmate Sat 20-Apr-13 15:30:20

I happily put my 3.5YO triplets onto reigns when we get out of the car because I know that I can't physically hold all 3 of their hands at once.
It's either reigns on, or we sit in the car until they are ready to put them on - I'm not going to compromise on safety just because of a bit of whinging or tantrumming about reign-wearing or hand-holding. YANBU OP.

building my dc1 is 'trained' to stop at driveways and wait until I give her the all clear. Dc2 will be when he is old enough, for now he has his rein backpack thing as he is a bolter.

CunningAtBothEnds Sat 20-Apr-13 15:46:04

I had a similar row discussion with DP based on this, about our school Run tactics. DS1 is a sensible child but is 3. I make him walk holding the pushchair (has a toddle tug for purpose) or my hand. DP allows him to run ahead. He actually said "its ok he knows to stop at the road". FFS why gamble with my sons life you idiot manangry

YANBU even dp is a hand holder in car parks. I tend to sit DS in the boot or leave him strapped in until last.

I have been known to yell 'Car Park rules' at my 11 year old. blush

wigglesrock Sat 20-Apr-13 15:53:05

One of the very few times I have really lost my temper with my 5 year old is when she started to feck about in a carpark. I also have a 26 month old who takes an umbrage to holding hands in carpark. She gets tucked under my arm and just told to catch herself on.

Mibby Sat 20-Apr-13 15:53:12

DD is 27 months and we have a non negotiatable rule of holding hands in car parks. Shes not keen but I dont care, id rather a tantrum than a squashed child!

wigglesrock Sat 20-Apr-13 15:55:30

Mind you I also leave the kids in the car alone whilst I nip into the shop, garage, postoffice and three of them, a "fast" carpark especially at our local post office and one pair of hands is one of the reasons why.

DeepRedBetty Sat 20-Apr-13 16:01:29

KateShmate may I suggest dog-leads rather than the useless short reins that the harness set normally comes with? I found them a godsend when dtds were small and erratic. You can loop them over your wrist while rooting about in purse etc.

NapaCab Sat 20-Apr-13 16:07:26

They clearly haven't had the Moment of Terror experience yet where you turn your back for a split second and your DC disappears or runs out in front of a car.

This happened to me just shortly after DS had started walking confidently outside. I had him out of the car and blocked in with my body then I dropped something so I stepped away to get it for a few seconds, assuming (big mistake) he would stay with me. Turned around and he was gone, half-way across the car park. Thankfully no car was coming but if one had, they'd never have seen him. That scared me enough to always hold his hand or carry him in car parks now.

bamboobutton Sat 20-Apr-13 16:08:44

saw a lot of this when we lived in godalming years ago.
worst one was when this man was strolling along with his older son running ahead and his younger, 2/3yo, son wandering behind.
2/3yo wandered off behind a parked car and out towards the road, dad was still oblivious. luckily we stopped the child just as his dad turned to look for him.
if we hadn't been following the child would have been out in the road before his dad could get to him as he was about 20 tall-man-paces away from his ds.

I get looks for gripping DDs wrist in a vice like grip while she dangles screaming from my hand but I would rather have dirty looks than a dead child.

Euphemia Sat 20-Apr-13 16:09:25

DD is 10 and we still watch her like a hawk in carparks! YANBU.

phantomnamechanger Sat 20-Apr-13 16:10:21

I have actually hit a child in a car park sad.

Totally his fault - he was 11 and running in and out of parked cars messing with friends - he ran out from behind a van (so I could not see him coming)straight into my car! luckily he was OK enough to run off when a passer by came to assist me, we got his name address and school from friends and reported it to police just in case his parents tried at a later point to track me down for ££££ - but by God it shook me up.

Mine have all used reins - sick of people saying "I wouldn't put my toddler on a lead like a dog" - the simple fact is, if you are walking a dog in a public place you DO keep them on a lead for safety, so why ever not do the same with your DC. Lady at school has preschool twins who she lets run on ahead of her, crossing driveways, alongside a busy road full of parked cars - she could not grab them both at the same time if she needed to, makes my blood run cold TBH

DS is 8 and I still regularly point out that he must walk right by my side as with all these taller cars he still could not be seen by a reversing driver. I have also taught all mine to look for cars that have someone in the driving seat/the engine running/reversing light on as this means they might be about to move off and they do not always look for pedestrians

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sat 20-Apr-13 16:13:34

DS is 17 and I still try to hold onto him near roads grin

YANBU. My rule for DS is 'hold my hand, or I will hold you'. He generally prefers to hold my hand than be gripped firmly by the upper arm grin.

Pozzled Sat 20-Apr-13 16:18:40

Good point about the driveways, not sure who mentioned them. Where we live, every second or third house has a drive or paved front garden, and I find it really hard with my 4 year old. She's perfectly able to run or scoot ahead and stops well back from roads, but if she stopped at every driveway there'd be no point in taking the scooter.

Crikeyblimey Sat 20-Apr-13 16:22:20

We always say "car park rules apply" and have done dice ds was able to walk. He's 10 now and still I insist he holds my hand or walks next to me on a car park. No compromise on that rule ever. He also used to believe that the car engine wouldn't start till everyone was buckled in (he knows this is not true now but never once tried to wriggle out of his carseat. Some rules just can't be broken.

BabyMakesTheYoniGoStretchy Sat 20-Apr-13 16:28:25

My mindees and DC are a bit older than the tot in the OP but we have a hands on the car rule for car parks. When each child gets out of the car they put both hands on it as I take the next child out. Then its hold hands.

When out walking on paths I use red/green. They are allowed to go so far ahead and then I shout red,which means stop. When I catch up I say green. There's also no running allowed because of the very busy roads here. If someone breaks the rules they must walk with their hand on the pushchair. For crossing the road its all holding hands.

IsThatTrue Sat 20-Apr-13 17:01:24

YANBU I still hold both kids hands in car parks/crossing roads, the oldest is 8.

TiredFeet Sat 20-Apr-13 17:16:11

Yanbu. My rule with ds near roads/in car parks is 'hold my hand or I will carry you like a baby'. He knows it is non-negotiable. Only downside is sometimes he decides he wants to be carried like a baby.

It is also the reason I always reverse into parking spaces and drive very slowly in car parks. I am shocked at the speed some parents drive intot the nursery/primary school car park near us. Absolutely shocked. Everyone has a responsibility to keep children safe

SarahAndFuck Sat 20-Apr-13 17:53:10

I shout "car park rules" at my DS (age 4) as well.

I am amazed at how many people I see wandering out of our local shop and straight across the road, while a tiny child dawdles behind them. They don't hold hands, they don't even seem to look at their child behind them on the road, and it is a busy one with a parking bay and a bad layout that means there are three corners right by the shop so it's hard to look to see if anything is coming.

stillfeel18inside Sat 20-Apr-13 17:55:46

Totally agree, it makes my blood boil to see this, and there's something arrogant somehow, rather than just naive, about the parents that do this. When my DC were small, I had friends hinting that I was too protective as it was so important for children to "learn about danger" - er, not by letting them run around near cars. They're not going to "learn" much if it ends up being the last thing they do. I just can't understand this mentality.

They all learn how to cross roads etc by the time they're 8 or 9 or so, which is before they usually need to be really independent (ie going to school on their own, going into town with friends etc)

YANBU. I still tell my nearly 15 yo to be careful when dropping her off in the car park for guides/clubs. She does the 'oh mum' face but I can't get out of the habit smile

cocolepew Sat 20-Apr-13 18:08:20

YANBU. DH shouted at 2 boys over Easter in an underground carpark. They were maybe about 7 or 8 and were running around it. There was hardly any room for 2 cars to pass but cars were still going too fast.

DH shouted at them to watch there was cars and the parents who were way in front and around a corner, called to them. When they got to the parents they started to shout at them so DH went to "have a word" with them too.

My dad grabbed my hand the last time we were out in town.

I am 45.

YoniTrix Sat 20-Apr-13 18:48:09

YANBU. There's a space at my DD's nursery where you have to reverse really close to the nursery door to get out of it. I'm always ultra aware about watching for people coming to the door.

I was half way out of the space when I saw a parent and his child of about 2 come to the door. I stopped and the dad walked behind my car and over to his. No sign of the child. Clearly I didn't move until I could see the father had the child.

What sort of lunatic lets his toddler walk behind a reversing car without holding its hand?!?!?

ShadowStorm Sat 20-Apr-13 20:26:29

YANBU. Very careless behaviour on the part of the parents.

DS (20 months) is only allowed to walk on pavements next to roads, car parks etc if he's got his reins on and we're holding his hand as well as the reins. If he starts trying to wriggle free and run off then he either gets picked up and carried or put back in his pushchair.

He's not happy about being picked up or put back in the pushchair, but I'd rather have a tantruming DS than one under a car's wheels.

crashdoll Sat 20-Apr-13 21:05:08

I love all you hysterical car park rule parents.

Just today, a boy of about 5 or 6 was meandering by himself in the middle of a fucking car park. It's a car park known for twatty driving. You can hear the beeps from about a mile away as drivers act wanky and get told off about it. There was really no excuse. Someone must have called him over because he suddenly legged it and he was inches from my car, really quite scary.

SanityClause Sat 20-Apr-13 21:11:11

My DC would probably all chorus together "being in a carpark is like walking on a road" if you asked them my what my stance on this was when they were younger. In fact, DS, who is my youngest, and is now 9 is still a bit dippy about carparks and roads, and still needs some supervision.

Fuckwittery Sat 20-Apr-13 21:16:11

I am constantly screeching "it's a CAR PARK! Stand still! Hold my hand! Stay close! CAR PARK!"

Armi Sat 20-Apr-13 21:25:43

I'm 38 and my mother still holds my hand in car parks and when crossing the road!

crashdoll Sat 20-Apr-13 22:15:59

I'm 24 and when I sit in the front of the car with my mum and she brakes suddenly, she puts her hand out of stop me jolting forward. I did say I've been able to support my own head for almost a quarter of a century, so I think I'd manage but she says it's a reflex.

Well it comforts me enormously to know that there are so many of you out there with 'carpark rules' grin

Startail Sat 20-Apr-13 22:41:41


DD does dances, one of her classmates little sisters will never join them. She was killed by a reversing people carrier.

OhDearNigel Sat 20-Apr-13 23:25:26

Yanbu. I may be a horrible, wrist gripping disciplinarian but hopefully it will stop Dd being run over. Toddlers running loose on pavements gives methe Henie jefe bird

OhDearNigel Sat 20-Apr-13 23:26:09

Wash, stupid autocorrect ! Gives me the Heebie Jeebies !

Dd is 8 and i put my hand stretched out over her chest whilst i walk just in front of her or i hold her wrist - i do it to dp, my mum, my friends etc too it's an ingrained habit from when my mum did it to me still does 99% of the time i do it in car parks and on roads it's better to have a whinging/embarrassed child than the alternative sad

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now