FINDING a parking space in a supermarket car park can be tricky, particularly when it is very busy.
Here, we look at the rules regarding parking in a parent and child parking space and what this could mean.
Can you get fined for parking in a parent and child space?
Parent and child parking spaces are clearly marked on the ground and are located close to the shop entrance.
Some stores may also display signs which outline the criteria for parking in these spots.
Nabbing a parking space in one of these bays isn't illegal – but you could end up with a fine.
Stores also have a time limit – and if you go over this you can be fined.
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Fines of £70 can be dished out if you exceed the time limit of park in the wrong spot.
Tesco and Asda use external agencies to monitor the parking and dish out fines to wrongdoers.
Sainsbury's has car park operators that will fine those breaking the rules.
However, shoppers are aware that many other supermarket car parks are rarely patrolled.
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Council traffic wardens can issue fines to those who break the rules in council-run car parks or on-street areas but are powerless on private land.
Parking at a supermarket is either enforced by the store itself or a private management company.
But motorists are still flouting the rules and it's prompted calls for a crackdown and the introduction of an on-the-spot £25 fine.
A survey by YourParkingSpace.co.uk found 10 per cent of motorists would even back a temporary ban from the supermarket for repeat offenders.
What are the rules around parent and child parking spaces?
Each store has its own rules, but most have an age cap at 12-years-old, although many people think this should be lowered to five – or until the child is able to walk.
Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said: "Parent-and-child parking at supermarkets is a hot topic and often creates strong opinion, as demonstrated by our survey results which show most people want some sort of punishment for motorists who use supermarket parent-and-child parking spaces when they shouldn’t be."
Drivers are also guilty of parking in electric car charging spots even if they don't own a plug-in car – because they're close to shop entrances.
Disabled bays are also misused, and although the government called for greater action in 2011, little has changed.
A spokesman for the AA said: "Some supermarkets already fine drivers who abuse mother and baby parking spaces.
"The problem is where enforcement isn’t done by a human but cameras.
"There needs to be the presence of a warden to act as a physical deterrent, with the discretion to give a warning.
"Many people would see the sense in reducing the age limit as 12 year olds should be able to walk across a car park.
"However, the upper age limit probably reflects the law on use of child restraints – with few exceptions, all children under 12 years and under 135cm tall must use an appropriate child restraint when travelling in any car or goods vehicle."
Can you park in a parent and child space with a blue badge?
If a Blue Badge holder parks in a parent and child space, it’s not illegal.
Whether or not supermarkets allow Blue Badge holders to park in parent and child spaces is another matter.
Do all supermarkets have parent and child parking spaces?
All major supermarkets have specially marked parking bays for people who need extra space with their children.
In October 2022, Tesco and Sainsbury's said they were clamping down on offenders who park in a clearly marked parent and child bay incorrectly.
Tesco states that these bays should be used for those who need additional space to get a child in and out of a car.
Sainsbury's and Asda say these parking spots are for parents with one or more child aged 12 or under.
Morrisons have parent and toddler spaces near the store, and M&S, Waitrose, Lidl and Aldi also have designated spots.
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