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Do you take your babies, kids on London Underground?

20 replies

expatkat · 29/03/2004 16:51

I ask because I pretend to myself that the bus is easier and slightly more buggy-friendly, but in fact I have a slight phobia of the tube & sometimes have panic attacks when we're stuck between stations & wouldn't want the kids to see me in such a state. So, while occasionally I use the underground with them , mostly we walk or take the bus. Sometimes dh takes ds on the tube when they're out & about, but I confess I worry a little. I don't have a problem with subways in other cities like NY, but the London one feels particularly cavernous, run-down, and dodgy.

Just wondered if anyone else shares my worry/avoidance. Now that I think about it, I don't see a whole lot of babies or children on the tube, so maybe I'm not the only one?

OP posts:
pollingfold · 29/03/2004 16:57

Am happy to travel on it, have done so with DS, but there is nothing to look at so boredom soon sets in.

When DS was only 2 weeks only got stuck on commuter filled carriage, and was late feeding, so he cried and cried. I didn't get offered seat until 5 stops later and then despite the crush as the seats empty emptied next to me no one sat in them!!! I very quickly got over my embarrassment about bf in public!

It sounds like the bus and walking work well for you, so stick with it. Also a lot more healthy (freshish air) than in the tube.

MrsGrump · 29/03/2004 16:59

We go on it, although not that often since we live far from London. Just the usual Safety-In-Crowds issues for us. Amazingly, usually get some half-friendly looks from other people admiring our baby of the moment.
I'd be terrified of NYC subways, but London Underground is the main one I know, so familiarity makes it feel ok. Can't help but suspect that NYC subways have higher crime rates (like rest of US society).

CountessDracula · 29/03/2004 16:59

I do, she loves it. But then I don't have a prob going on it myself. I often see a lot of kids on it.

Expatkat, probably best to avoid with your kids or you may transfer your worries to them do you think?

CountessDracula · 29/03/2004 17:00

Mrs G NY subway is lovely compared to the tube! Lovely air con, much more reliable. Only bad thing is the hard seats IMO.

suedonim · 29/03/2004 17:01

Yes, we use the Tube, I've never thought twice about it, tbh. Imo, it's improved so much since I first used the tube in the 70's. There's no smoking now and the trains and stations are much cleaner than back then. I kind of have the opposite fear to you, about NY! I understand a lot of their subway is cut-and-cover and I worry about the pavements/roads collapsing into a big hole, lol!

Thomcat · 29/03/2004 17:03

Yes and it was like taking her to Disneyworld! She was beside herself with excitment. Loved it and made friends with the entire carriage every time.

Lots of people feel that way about the tube expat. it hink if you are prone to slight panic attacks the tube is the place they will rear their ugly head.

aloha · 29/03/2004 17:07

Like you I have claustrophobia attacks on the tube so don't use it - don't need to either, I'm glad to say. I remember going on it as a child and thinking it was the biggest treat, but dh can take ds, as I really don't like it. I'd much rather pay the congestion charge.

maomao · 29/03/2004 17:08

Yes, tho' we prefer to use the bus. Not to be gross, but after we've been in the Tube, both me and my DD have grey-ish sooty-looking snot that comes out of our noses. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it seems to happen every time....

lou33 · 29/03/2004 17:13

TC I can just picture her! When are you on LK btw?

expatkat · 29/03/2004 17:21

I love how the NYC subway is (generally) so shallow. The exit to the world is about 10 feet over your head. Whereas going down to the Northern Line at, say, Angel station is like entering one of the deeper circles of hell. I don't think crime is too bad in NYC these days, though the subway was a crime nightmare in the 70's and early 80's.

My kids love the underground. Thomcat is right: it's like "Disneyworld."

Do you think those documentaries (2 yrs ago?) about the safety problems in the underground were exaggerated, some kind of propaganda? Come to think of it they did feel a bit sensationalistic. I guess if I had some reassurance that it was basically safe, I'd feel better. All I seem to read in the papers is criticism of the underground system & how badly run & maintained it is. I would love to be corrected.

OP posts:
MrsGrump · 29/03/2004 18:15

What, Expatkat, you think the British Press might be a little sensationalistic? Neah, never...

sis · 29/03/2004 20:48

Ds is 5 and for the past two years, he goes on the tube almost every weekend with dh - just for the ride - he loves it. He was a bit wary of going underground at first so we stuck to the overground stations at first (lucky to be near the overground bit of the jubilee line) but now he loves all the bits of it and his favourite journey is 'from one end of the line to the other'.

Posey · 29/03/2004 20:54

I took dd on the tube when she was a lot youger (about 2) and she was really freaked out by it. Don't know why exactly but after that we used the bus which is more interesting anyway. She will go on it now, but still prefers the bus. I avoid it now because I've got a 15mth old and find the escalators a bit of a problem. We're in quite central London so we have a great bus service but also walk a lot.

Slinky · 29/03/2004 20:55

Yes I have done in the past.

Fortunately, I don't live in London so don't have to face the Underground on a regular basis but I do hate it!

And like Maomao, also have noticed "black-snotty" substances coming out of our noses after travelling on them. Although having said that, after spending a day in London I always feel really "grubby" and "yucky" so end up scrubbing in the bath when I get home.

Also notice how no-one looks at you, makes conversation, smiles etc etc - really sad

Really don't like London at all - and try and avoid going if possible. DH commutes daily so dones't feel a "need" to go back at weekends anyway.

Give me my seaview and fresh sea air anyday

Galaxy · 29/03/2004 20:56

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Slinky · 29/03/2004 20:57

And that's another thing - I've only been on a Tube with my eldest child - how on earth do people manage with babies/toddlers/pushchairs?????

The people don't seem to go out of their way to help and assist you!

toddlerbob · 29/03/2004 22:23

I took 5 month old ds on the tube, but wouldn't have considered it with a buggy unless I was familiar with the stations and knew it wouldn't be too much of a carry if the escalators weren't working.

I hated being on the bus with him.

hoxtonchick · 29/03/2004 22:28

ds & I tend to walk or drive most places & he thinks going on the bus is a real treat (we live pretty near central London), but I do occasionally take him on the tube. I'm a bit of a tube-avoider (go to work on the bus which takes a lot longer) but he loves it, & calls it "downstairs train". I do think it's fundamentally safe though, just not the most pleasant experience.

expatkat · 29/03/2004 22:47

Exactly what I wanted to hear, hoxtonchick (re. safety). And I love that: "downstairs train."

OP posts:
Marina · 30/03/2004 09:43

expatkat, I find the tube worrying in theory (my father was caught up in the hideous aftermath of the Moorgate tube disaster and even now won't use the tube). In practice I use it every day on my own now (have to for cross-town sprint to nursery) and agree with Hoxtonchick that it is fundamentally safe if jammed and smelly. For five months in 2000 I commuted with baby ds in a sling using tube, train and bus and it went fine. Lots of people enjoyed seeing him and he loved it too. So little of the tube is buggy-friendly on entrance/exit, that's the big problem for us once they outgrow slings.
Number one fave in our house has to be the DLR. Ds adores that.

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