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Tips from parents without a car

(16 Posts)
TheKidsAreAllWrong Wed 29-Jun-11 18:13:47

We don't have a car and when my mum found out we weren't planning to get one in preparation for DC1, she found this histerically naive [i suspect she is still laughing] hmm

I'd really appreciate a realistic idea of the pros and cons of car-free parenting from those who have experienced it...

PeggyCarter Wed 29-Jun-11 18:22:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheKidsAreAllWrong Wed 29-Jun-11 19:20:31

Thanks, Joyful. We already rely on getting around by foot or public transport so used to the frustrations but its also perfectly doable in our city. am i ridiculous for thinking it might actually be easier in some ways to travel on a train with a baby than in a car for a trip? (can walk around, feed, change nappies etc. with relatively more ease than leaning into back seat?)

ignatz Wed 29-Jun-11 19:23:57

i recommend looking for a lightweight buggy. most on market are designed to be easily foldable into a boot etc. but your priority for getting on and off buses and trains etc. is more likely to be that it's very light. i forget the names of some that we looked at but i think there's one reviewed on which? that says it is good for use on public transport...

missnevermind Wed 29-Jun-11 19:25:01

I am about to have DC4.
We have never had a car, neither of us can drive.
We cope very well thank you very much. grin
I think longer trips are easier by coach or train as you do not have to worry about feeding stops and such.

ignatz Wed 29-Jun-11 19:31:30

thanks, missnever. if you really had to though, can you think of any disadvantages or things that you have had to work around because you don't drive? (I just want to be fully armed for all the people who are going to look at me like shock or hmm...)

p.s. sorry i meant hysterically in OP in case this turns into spelling thread

Indith Wed 29-Jun-11 19:34:50

You don't need a car. We didn't have one when ds was born, we only got one when dh needed one to commute to work as public transport would have taken hours and hours. Of course since he had the car to work I was a SAHM with no car. It was fine.

There are some frustrations, for example you still need car seats for when you get lifts and they take up a lot of space in your house!

Whenyou get the train somewhere you need to either have decent public transport at the other end to get to your destination or have someone pick you up which means you need to bring the carseat on the train too in a ddition to the buggy and so on. However, unless you visit people in other cities on a very regular basis this isn't an issue too often. Long train journies can be annoying though, in a car baby tends to fall asleep and stay like that untilt he car stops, on a train it can be a longer trip and changes can be hard when you have a baby, suitcase, carseat and pushchair to unload, shove tothe other side of the station and reload.

Initially, especially in an area with decent buses you will have plenty of baby groups and toddler groups in walking distance or a bus ride away. However, as your child gets older and you want to do things like soft play (especially in winter!) or farms or just bigger parks, country parks and such, they tend to be out of town and often not very easy to get to on public transport so you either can't go or have to rely on lifts. Lifts are fine when you and your friend have one child each but as soon as you start adding more then you run out of space in the car.

Mostly though it is fine, if you manage now then you'll manage with a baby. Just look into decent slings rather than a pushchair all the time as they are easier on buses and when buying a pushchair get something that folds down easily as you can't guarantee space on the bus, there may already be another buggy or a wheelchair user may need the space. You will either waste a lot of time waiting for the next bus or need to buy something practical that can fold and be prepared to do a lot of juggling of shopping bags and baby.

Start online shopping for the bulk of your groceries (we started doing a monthly shop of tins and dried goods, household stuff etc) so you only have to get your fresh food, saves on getting to the checkout and finding oyu can't actually fit all your shopping on the pushchair!

Indith Wed 29-Jun-11 19:37:13

huh? ignatz are you the OP and if so why are you namechanging giving advice to yourself? I'm confused

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 29-Jun-11 19:47:41

Our set-up is similar to Indith, I have no car during the week as DH uses it for work. We have 2 children. I live in a city and walk/use public transport, it is mostly fine.

It does limit a little the places I can get to, but can tell you we will be on a trip to the Zoo tomorrow (as DS's teacher is on strike) and that the DC view the bus trip as part of the outing. I do bulky food shopping online as we don't want to spend weekends in the supermarket.

People have said 'but what about emergencies?' (i.e. sick child) to which my answer would be that if it was truly an emergency surely it would require an ambulance?

TheKidsAreAllWrong Wed 29-Jun-11 19:53:22

Thanks Indith and Rhinestone.

I'm OP. DP answered my post without clocking it was me and then I came back to computer and didn't check who was logged on blush now we have to both namechange to be able to complain about each other wink you've got to admit, i would be the most unsuccessful troll ever if this was the topic i decided to get all adopted identity on...[shuffles sideways out of forum, hanging head at inept web geekery of both DP and self]

notcitrus Wed 29-Jun-11 20:01:16

Where do you live? I'm in south London and though we have a car, ds goes in it less than once a month (used less than once a week for MrNC to go do sport and/or go to the builders yard, etc). My neighbours have 2 dcs and still haven't bothered getting a car - they use Streetcar every few months.

Trains are the way to go for travel - kids love them and stations, you can feed a baby whenever, and generally interact with them in a way you can't when driving. OK sometimes there are delays/you miss a train, but equally you could get stuck in a traffic jam. With the help of and searching for step-free access routes, public transport is a doddle. Even made going to Leicester and Loughborough fun (under £50 return for 2 parents plus dcs, upgraded to first class - same cost as petrol!)

In an emergency there's local minicab firms if you can't justify an ambulance.

Indith Thu 30-Jun-11 08:31:29


I don't think I could cope it dh were on here!

Must say, dh now works away in the week so I have the car. It makes things easier but only really interms of not having to live by the bus timetable. We moved out to a small village when dc2 was around 6 months and I didnt have a car in the week for almost 2 years and still managed fine, we walked a lot and if we wanted to go into the city we used the rural bus which was at 8am to go in then either 1.30 or 3.50 to come home depending on what I was doing. I admit I rather like having moreflexibility on that one!

MoreBeta Thu 30-Jun-11 09:04:24

We have never had a car since DS1 was born 11 years ago and we have DS2 age 9 now.

It is perfectly fine. The crucial thing is live somewhere that has excellent pubic transport and get all your shopping on line. I also agree about getting a good lightweight buggy. We went through 3 MacLaren buggies.

Days out are OK on a train and if you live in or near a town you would be surprised how many local attractions there are. We also used to go to soft play areas and send our DSs to holiday clubs a lot rather than days out.

Its really is just a matter of modifyng yur life a bit and planning ahead slightly. The only time we really absolutely needed a car is going to the airport - in which case we hired a taxi.

Advantages are far lower costs of transport, walking is good for you and you get to meet more people. Disadvantages. Stood at a bus stop in rush hour, soaking wet through with a mithering child and a buggy that you can't get on the bus.

wearymum200 Thu 30-Jun-11 22:34:00

It is perfectly manageable IMHO. I have no car now (sold it last year, but it had sat, unused, for over a year; DH uses the family car during the week). Buses are mainly pushchair friendly now.
Get a lightweight, easily manouevrable pram so DC can do all their sleeping in that and you can walk everywhere/ push on and off bus etc. Get a sling (you might have to try a few before you decide what you like best).
Online supermarket shopping.
Now my 2 DC are bigger, we go many places by bike, but would rent a car if really needed one
The main potential problem might be visting family if the y are very distant/ awkward to reach. I need the car to get to my Mum's house, which is in the middle of nowhere (about 3 hours from us by car, nearer 6 by train, then bus), but other than that, you might find much less "stuff" is essential!

MoreBeta Thu 30-Jun-11 22:46:32

" might find much less "stuff" is essential!"

Too right. If you can't carry it you can't take it. Am astonished by the amount of 'stuff' people carry about in their car.

notcitrus Fri 01-Jul-11 09:10:16

Oh yes - did have to convince both sets of grandparents to acquire a car seat, for collecting from nearest station. And repeatedly teach them how to put the thing in.
Black cabs you can keep a baby/child in their pushchair and strap it in place, some cabs in Brighton you can even fit two pushchairs in.
Big rucksack really handy for going away for a few days and leaving hands free for the pushchairs.
Trains rather than buses in the rush hour. Even if you have to wait a bit longer and walk a bit further. Being stuck on a bus standing with a baby wanting feeding or a hot toddler is hell on earth! I have many talents but breastfeeding standing up is not one of them. If you only have a bus route, hole up in a cafe until rush hour eases!

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