Parents with Prams Parking

parents with prams

So, I’m basically the worst kind of person. I’ve done a terrible thing. I parked in the PARENTS WITH PRAMS parking without a pram! I put my toddler in a shopping trolley instead!  The worst. I didn’t even have a pram in the car that day! When I returned from grocery shopping I found this note on my car:


What’s The Issue?

We’ve parked in the “Parents with Prams” parking spaces countless times without actually using a pram. I mostly “babywear” so I rarely actually take my pram to the shops. My toddler does still occasionally go in a pram, just not while grocery shopping – obviously can’t push a trolley AND a pram at the same time! And I don’t really see the difference to anyone else if I put her in a trolley or a pram? How does it affect them so much that they felt compelled to write a nasty note calling me lazy?!

No Need To Be Rude

Whether or not this person agreed with my choice of parking space the letter they left for me was unnecessarily rude.

They don’t know me, they have no idea who I am or what motivates me. I didn’t park in the spot closest to the door because I’m too lazy to walk a few extra meters from the next available parking space. I chose it because I have two very fast small children and not having to navigate through the parking lot is my preference if there’s a closer park available. Mostly though I parked there because I believed I was allowed to. I didn’t really think much of it.

Also the parking spot I chose is directly next to the trolley bay. Which means it’s a lot easier to return the aforementioned trolley once I’ve unloaded the groceries and buckled the kids into the car.

Even More Unbelievable

The only way this person would have even known I didn’t use a pram that day was if they were watching me unload my kids from the car. If they saw me get my kids out then they would have also seen my older child – who was 5 years old at the time – run out across the parking lot while I was getting my 2 year old out of the car. Maybe me shouting at him was what drew this person’s attention to me in the first place. (Though it’s a little bit creepy to think they were watching me the whole time!)

Even if my two year old wasn’t put into a trolley, wouldn’t a reasonable person consider that maybe it’s a lot safer for me to park near to an entrance? Given I was already obviously struggling to wrangle my kids that day!

You Never Know What Someone Else Is Going Through

I was in an okay space when that happened. I laughed it off. When I got home I shared it on my own personal social media account and had friends reassure me that it was okay. That I’d done the right thing. That it’s their problem, not mine. But what if this was left on the car of someone who was really struggling at the time? What if they were just plain having a terrible day?! Parenting is hard work. It’s certainly hard enough without someone watching you get your kids out of the car!  And even worse to have them judging you and calling you a lazy parent.

At least it just made me roll my eyes and have a bit of a laugh. (Even if it did make me a little angry at the time!)

Do you think that Parents with Pram parking is ONLY for when you have a pram?


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*Originally published Sept 2014

Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.


  1. Pram/trolley same concept!!! Still loading and unloading children. The person who wrote that letter is an idiot!!! Bigger issues in the world then what classifies a pram park

  2. I have had these exact same issues. I have parked in a parents with prams spot, with my 18 month old and 4 year old daughter who has asd and bolts through car parks. I didn’t think it would be an issue if I used a trolley to pop them both in, others feel differently and are insanely protective of these pram spots.
    I think the parking spots should be renamed. Parents with car seats perhaps? Whether I use a pram or a trolley, I need to open my car doors wider than usual to get kids out, that’s what the spots should be there for as they are wider than normal ones..
    Bit creepy to think there are people out there watching us like that.. .

  3. What I’d like to know is what they expected you to do with the pram once you got into the grocery store and needed a trolley? I’ve put my stroller in a trolley before, when I needed more groceries than I originally thought, and it was a total pita!

  4. Totally agree with you.
    I vote there should be pregnant bays, I had really bad pelvic girdle pain and SPD, if I couldnt get a close bay I would leave because it was that painful to walk. I’d happily park in the furthest bay now, well maybe not happily.

    Friends reckon the parents with prams bays are highly valuable with small children as they do not need to cross car park aisles.
    And what about baby wearing. I’d rather walk to the furthest bay with my pram than while wearing bub and carrying shopping.

  5. I use a double seat trolley for shopping (with anywhere between 2-5 kids under 7). Should i not park in the pram parks? People with small children is more the intent of the parks!

  6. I think they should direct their wrath towards people who park in disabled parks without a permit. Pram parks are not a right and – unlike disabled parks – their use is not strictly regulated. I used them occasionally without a pram, when I had one or more pram-aged children, in order to avoid weaving through lots of cars with small hard-to-see-when-driving-in-a-carpark children.

    1. You are correct, these pram parks or parents with pram parks are ‘not’ legally designated, and contrary to what a lot seem to believe, the vast majority are ‘not’ bigger spaces than all the normal spaces. These spaces were only ever introduced to shopping centre parks, by the center owners/operators to create a sense of ‘importance’ to mothers with babies or toddlers and with their thinking that it will help the shops to ‘extract’ more money from them. No other reason. Clearly that has worked since the number young mothers who have adopted this ‘self entitlement and self importance’ attitude is beyond belief. These parks ‘can’ legally be used by ‘anyone’ and they do ‘not’ need to justify to anyone their reason for using. Just because someone has a baby or toddler does ‘not’ mean they ‘have a greater need’ or that they are ‘more important’ than some other person, ..and it also does ‘not’ mean they have an ‘absolute right’ to have that park over someone else.

      As far as ‘disabled’ parks go, ..they ‘are’ legally enforceable regardless of if they are in shopping centres or on public streets.

  7. We don’t use a stroller we use trolleys for the reason mentioned above about groceries. Sometimes I don’t even use a trolley. For me it’s about two kids needing extra room either side of the car to get out of car seats. Plus Mr 2.5 is a runner and I try to give him less chance of running before getting into the shopping centre.

  8. I always and will always see it as a safety issue. Young children are more likely to be unseen, so less time on the road is preferable, no? I will use the safest spot, not necessarily the closest. It is not about laziness.

  9. In UK, these are called “parent and child spaces” and the sign politely asks people to keep the spaces empty so that children can be kept safe. Yes they are closer to the shops. This is not laziness, it is to give the least opportunity for young children to be knocked down by cars whilst the busy parent navigates their way to the shops. To be honest, a child actually restrained in a pram is far less in need of the spaces apart from the door opening aspect. Taking the wording of the signage literally in this case is simply ridiculous! Many countries do not provide such spaces at all. The writer must’ve been having a particularly bad day!

  10. I have seen plenty of parents do the same thing. Myself included. Carry their baby or place their toddler or baby into a trolley when parking in those spaces – I think it’s completely justified. The person who wrote the letter is missing the point of the parking spaces in my opinion.

  11. Maybe they should be renamed to parent child parks. My brother is disabled and it continues to make me angry the amount of people that park in those that aren’t entitled to

  12. My daughter who is a p-plater but has a baby was stared down by a woman who took veeeerrryyy long to get out of a parents with pram car park; because she obviously thought here was no baby. We waited patiently and had a good laugh when she finally left, shaking her head. People are idiots so don’t worry too much about it. There will always be a “know-it-all”

  13. At the risk of getting smacked around, I’ve always taken the “Parents with Pram” sign as a serving suggestion only. I didn’t realise it was a safety issue until I read some of the comments, so I’ll be more mindful in future. But horrible preachy notes would never have achieved that result.

  14. I baby wear my newborn but have to get him out of a capsule. Surely if the spots available I should be able to use it! Nothing worse then being to close to another car & having to go through other side

  15. As a Disabled Driver, with a valid permit, I was gobsmacked at being yelled at and abused this morning for parking in the closest available parking bay. Since all the disabled bays were full I parked in the next spot, a Parents with Prams bay. These are “courtesy” bays and not enforceable by law. These two crazy women went nuts. They called the police, started filming and screaming at me. All the while I was in absolute hysterics. There was a parents with their period space 4 bays away 🙂 Since when did going to the shops have to turn into chaos? The walk would have done these two ladies a world of good. Getting into my wheelie is a lot more difficult than lady who had a newborn in a sling.

    1. Exactly! I don’t know what they expected me to do instead. It would have been impossible to push a trolley AND a pram at the same time. Maybe someone should invent a pram that hooks onto a shopping. Now there’s an idea.

    1. This morning I did a full grocery shop. I parked in a “Parents with Prams” spot and used a trolley (gasp) for Mr 2, while Mr 5 walked and Mr 11 weeks was in the ring sling (double gasp)… No prams in sight! 🙂

  16. I’ve got 2 year old twins. I use parent with pram spots even if they walk, go in a trolley or get worn. If you’ve got kids under preschool age I think it’s fine!

  17. I have used those spots before too, despite never having a pram. Seriously, who takes a pram when they need to do their groceries?!

    If I have my 18mo, 4yo, as well as my friend’s kids (3, 6 and 9), you bet I take the parents with prams park. If I need it, I’ll take it.

    Some shops don’t actually stipulate they are for parents with prams. My local shopping centre doesn’t.

  18. Pram or trolley, it doesn’t matter! I use the ‘pram’ parks as they are usually slightly bigger, so it’s easier to get the kids in and out of the car. There’s nothing worse than not being able to open the door wide enough to fit a capsule through. Or a small child! Nothing lazy about it. I wouldn’t care if the parks were the furthest away from the shop. Just having the extra space can be a godsend.

  19. So stupid how are you suppose to push a pram and a trolley at the same time, I had my two kids with me today shopping and I parked in the Parents with prams my pram was staying firmly in the boot.

  20. I use it and always have when I’ve had a car seat, I don’t use a pram but I have a back injury and especially when I used to wear my babies I really needed to be close to the entrance! I felt like it was fair since when I had the disabled Bay thing there was almost never an available Bay anyway but always parents with prams and I’ve always had a child in a car seat since I hurt my back, why keep getting the disabled access?

  21. Now I always thought these were like the ‘parent and child’ parks they have at home (uk). They tend to be wider and longer for getting kids and their stuff in and out if the car, they don’t say you have to have a pram, just the children is enough. But I found out only recently that a mamma had been find for using one here without a pram! I was aghast, that affectively means the child part is irrelevant. So you go with a pram and no child and that’s ok?

  22. When my daughter was a baby, these spaces didn’t exist and guess what…….i parked where i could get a park, get the pram and the child out of the car and walked to the shops. What a novel idea. Geez the world is getting a bit too precious

    1. They’re really good when you’re strapping kids into harnesses. At our local shops there isn’t enough spaces between normal parks to get a capsule in the door let alone for an adult to stand and lean into the car. The parents spots are a bit wider.

    2. Bet if they’d existed then you would have appreciated them just as much as mums with young kids today, particularly as parking spaces get narrower so they can fit more in each massive car park.

  23. I thought they were slightly bigger to allow for getting kids out of seats rather than just for prams. Regardless, they are just courtesy parks anyway.

    1. The ones at my local shops are regular sized, but I do love the extra wide parks when they’re available, because I’m always terrified we’ll accidentally bump the car next to us with the door while wrangling kids in and out.

  24. If you have small children that need the extra safety then it shouldn’t matter if they’re in a pram, trolley, or walking. If you trust your child to hold your hand and not rip off and get hit, then consider parking elsewhere during busy times at the shops.

  25. Ive not seen one called that in ages, most out my way are called parents with babies spots. Never used a pram, used them until kidlets were able to stand beside the car and safely navigate the carpark. Anyone who complained could get stuffed.

  26. I always see it as parents with small kids (under school age) parking rather than with pram. My 2yr old hates the pram, so we rarely use it but I’ll park there if there is one available. We are rural though with lots of these spots regularly available.

  27. when my twins were babies I did use a pram and a trolley ( with my three year old.) it nearly killed me and was the most inconvenient way to shop ever… walking sideways and pulling the pram behind me… l think the pram parking should be for anyone with kids to the age of 7… and don’the forget the special needs kids… high functioning asd / adhd does not get disability parking- walking/ carrying or pram or trolley is all ok.

  28. The whole point of those car spots is because you need the width to get kids/babies in/out of the car. It doesn’t matter whether you load them into a pram or trolley.

    This idiot is off their trolley!

  29. These spots weren’t around when mine where little, shame you didn’t see the tossers car, next time Park next to it and pull your door open to get your little one out, of course accidentally hitting their car a few times (cause you need to reach in and grab your bag and kid bag and?!?) really isn’t enough space to not damage car next to you.

  30. I have parked many times in these parks, while using my pram for my 2 little ones, and just in the last few weeks had 1x tradie in a 2 seater ute park next to me in a pram park, on a crazy angle too mind you, and a couple who didn’t have any children at all and they looked at ME funny!! I was pretty annoyed.

  31. What a sad person who wrote that note! I assumed parents with prams just meant “got young kids with no road sense and also maybe your juggling a newborn or God forbid four kids under 5, then park here and make life a tad easier” I guess I read it wrong ?

  32. Isn’t the point of the spaces that they’re wider so more space to get kids in and out/less risk of walking in car parks with kids? How rude are people!

  33. I rarely use the parents parking as I prefer to park away from cars with baby seats, saves my doors that way. I generally look for slighty larger parks like end of rows and stuff. Having said that who cares who uses the family car parks and whether their kids are old/young or pram/trolley.

  34. I hate when people use them when they don’t have kids at all, at our local hospital theres a multilevel carpark with no lift, on the ground level theres a heap of disabled and parents with pram parking. I’ve been there a few times for appointments and tests where it would have made my life a lot easier taking the pram so my baby could sleep for the long wait times but while driving around for a spot on the ground floor ive watched people park in the parents with prams spots and have no kids at all, i then had to park on the second level and walk down dodgy steps holding my baby and nappy bag, then spend the day holding him while we wait in between appointments

  35. Wow! I do the same thing! I use a trolley for shopping trips but a pram when its much further to walk, and my 2 year old sometimes walks beside me while im pushing the pram, but she wouldn’t be able to make long walks yet. I’ll continue to do so as long as my child is in a pram or trolley. On a side note maybe the parking sign should say parent parking instead of parents with prams, but parents can use their commonsense as well when needed.

  36. Honestly you have a baby park there, I mean I even parked there when I was pregnant! It’s the only car park I could actually get in and out of once I popped… It’s so much easier and car parks these days aren’t made for people with kids, that’s whys there is the designated ones.. Obviously this person doesn’t have children and doesn’t know the struggle of trying to get your Bub/child in and out of the car in normal
    Sized car parks!

  37. Yesterday I parked in a Pram spot- There were absolutely no parking spots so I took one.
    Headed back to my car and a lady in the car next door to me was also leaving.
    All of a sudden she realised I dont have a baby and starts abusing me. She was a psychotic junkie and she opened my door while I was in it and slammed it against her car door. I was yelling at her to leave me alone but she would not stop abusing me. She then got her walking stick and started hitting my car! I was trying to be calm. Shouldve ran her over.

    I think it is ridiculous that people act like this over a fricken CAR PARK!!!!!

    I then drove off and got her number plate and reported to police but they said they can’t really do anything since there were no witnesses. Cop told me she was a nutcase for acting the way she did though

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