Caution: car seats inside. The drama of parking with car seats.
It never fails. There is not a car 10 spaces in any direction. You don’t mind the hike to the store front from your far parking space. Maybe just this one time, you can open your car doors wide enough to get your kids out of their car seats without having to be a contortionist. You get them out, load them in a cart, and you feel confident as you go into the store to do your shopping.
As soon as you reach the check-out counter, you start to get nervous. You tell yourself that you parked far enough away and there wasn’t a car in sight. You are reassured.
As the automatic doors of Target open and you hit the pavement- you see it. “How could it be? How can there possibly be cars parked next to me? I parked so far away. There was no one in the store! Where did these cars come from?” As you close in on your car, your heart sinks. A vehicle on each side of you. How are you going to get Junior in his car seat on one side and squeeze Jane’s carrier in on the other? You can barely fit through yourself!
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Since you have no choice, you load your groceries in through the back. Then you have to make Junior crawl in on his sister’s side, over her carrier base, just to get to his car seat. Now you have to try to lug Jane, in her 20 pound carrier, through a 12inch opening while trying not to hit the car parked over the line next to you. You can only hope they at least showed your car that same courtesy (since you can fit through to check). You squeeze through the other side and lean over the driver’s seat to buckle Junior.
Didn’t these people have children? Don’t they remember how hard it is to fit through these tiny spaces to buckle their children in the car?
This is truly one of my BIGGEST pet peeves as a Mom. I had it especially hard when my second daughter was born because my first was still only 16 months old. Try getting two babies into the car in the dead of East-coast winter when there is a pick-up truck 6 inches from your door!
Once, I went to an event in the city and had to park in a garage. When I came out, the car next to me was so close that I literally could not open the door wide enough to fit the carrier between our cars. I had to put the carrier on the ground and back the car out to get her in! And wait until you hear the best part-the car squeezed next to me had a car seat in the back!
Here is what I am doing now to minimize this happening again and again. I made car seat signs and placed them in the side windows where the kids’ car seats are located in our vehicle. These signs let other drivers know that there is a car seat on this side and to please leave room. Please. Of course, this does not guarantee anyone will oblige- but at least it’s worth a try! I’ve noticed that other parents usually remember what it was like having young children and try to be helpful. read more about that here:
I have included a printable version of the sign for you to print out and use in your car. I cannot guarantee it will work but if it works just once, it might be worth it!
CLICK TO PRINT: Car Seat Sign
I printed it in color, laminated it (with Laminating Sheets ) and taped it to each window (since I have car seat on each side). I guess I can’t say for sure whether people see it and are leaving room, or if that is coincidence. Either way, I can get my two kids in the car without breaking a hip or denting my car. Win-win.
Do you have a crazy story of something you had to do to get your child in the car? What is your biggest pet peeve about parking with children? I’d love to hear it! Leave a comment and share!
Want to read more about car seat safety? LINK to NHTSA site: safecar.gov
“Dont’ Even” Photo: @S