the daycare parking lot dilemma


I’m going to present to you a scenario… and I’d like to see what your reaction/response is… because it’s a moral dilemma that occupies too much of heart some days.

This is a crude diagram of the daycare center’s parking lot:


The three spots labeled with the BLUE H’s are handicapped spots.

Every afternoon, inevitably, there is always someone parked in at least one of the handicapped spots by the door. They are not handicapped. AND… there are always empty spots in the lot around the bend. In fact, some people even park in the red zone adjacent to the entrance when there are empty spots in the parking lot.

I understand that it seems silly to have the 3 spots at a location that might not use them, but it’s California law.

So, I’d like to know your opinion on this issue, since it’s not really something I can bring up with fellow parents in casual non-accusatory conversation!

[poll id=”5″]


  • Maya

    I wouldn’t park in a handicapped spot unless it was a true, genuine emergency. Even if no one is using them, they are there to serve a purpose and should be available whenever they are needed.

  • Jill

    Your poll is missing an option for “I wouldn’t, I would wait for a spot to open up.” There is no excuse for parking in a handicapped spot if you’re not handicapped. Ever. I think it’s nice that some stores have “Parents with Babies” spots and for some reason, you never see those being abused. Why is that?

  • HamiHarri

    My vote was for very rare circumstances. My hubby on the other hand, would have wanted to vote that he wouldn’t ever. Period.

    While it might be annoying to see, and I’d likely vent about it to hubby, it’s not something I’d actively approach other parents about. Especially if they haven’t been in need (regardless of the law). One day a police officer might swing by and see someone parked in one of those spots that shouldn’t be, and they’ll get ticketed or towed…that will likely be the lesson that they need!

  • Cathleya

    I’ve never parked in a handicapped parking spot but I’m conditioned to the LA attitude where you just park way in the back or far away and walk somewhere rather than be that idiot that tries to find the “best” or most convenient spot (because oftentimes just parking far away and walking ends up being faster).

    That being said, in 100 percent honesty, I can’t say I’d stick to this mentality when I have a baby, a diaper bag, a stroller, I’m alone, and it’s overwhelming. Just being honest. I’d probably park in the handicapped spot if I know I’ll only be there to pick up my child (5 mins). I know it’s illegal and wrong and all that stuff. But just being honest. It all sounds overwhelming and if I’m just running in—I’d probably do it.

  • Sugar Scientist

    I feel so strongly about this, I WOULD be the jerk who goes and yells at other parents. Handicapped spots are there for a reason — even if you are just in it for 10 minutes, someone could pull up who legitimately needs that spot. Plus, you can get caught up in a conversation, a daycare teacher may wish to speak to you… plenty of reasons why you are delayed and stay even longer than anticipated. I’m assuming your building is a normal size, and those side spots aren’t a half mile away. What’s even worse — these parents are teaching their children that it is totally okay to ignore the law just to put your own desires first.

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness

    Parking in a handicapped spot is definitely unacceptable. A good way to curb this? With signs & conversations from the day care staff that they have “been informed that the police will begin ticketing for anyone parking in a handicapped spot.”

  • Amber

    I have a similar problem at my children’s elementary school. There are only 2 handicapped spots, and there is always a parent parking in them, without proper plates/permits. It is more annoying for me because my mother (who picks up my kids at least once a week) IS handicapped and often can’t park where she needs too.

    I would bring up your concerns with the daycare supervisors/administration. If nothing happens then a call to the police station would be my next course of action. They have a parking enforcement division, and I am sure they would be out to monitor the situation.

  • Michelle

    I couldn’t do it. Even if I was just going to be in and out in 5 minutes. I have horrible guilt when I park in the 20 minute parking at work for more than 20 minutes.

    If I was handicapped and needing a parking space and couldn’t find one because someone parked there to run in for 5 minutes, I would be upset. What if the handicapped person was in a hurry or had an emergency? They would have to park far away and struggle to get to the building because of their disability.

  • stacey

    i would in some sort of an emergency, so i voted that i would in a rare and special situation. i can’t think of any that would qualify, though… i have never parked in one yet. we’ll see if such a situation comes up.

    i teach in special ed, and have disabled family members, so parking in handicapped spots is kinda a pet peeve.

  • talda

    i would probably think about it but ultimately either wait for a spot to open or park in the side lot because i’d be scared that the one time i do park there would be the time i get ticketed. fear is a great motivator.

  • Kristin

    I have never, would never park in a handicap parking space. And for a repeat offender, I’d probably leave an anonymous note, just so that person knows that they’re not going unnoticed when they do that.

    This brings up an interesting question – what about handicap bathrooms? I use them if there aren’t any regular stalls available..

  • Julie

    Unless it was an emergency or I really was hurt in some instance, I would never park in the handicapped spot. I hate it when people misuse them.

  • Hannah

    I cannot and will not park in handicapped parking. I feel guilty just sitting in a spot (whlie waiting for someone, eager to move if someone pulls up and needs to park) and cannot fathom someone being so selfish that they park there.

    I used to think I was the person who would yell at someone but then I realized that many disabilities are hard to be seen. Also, what do I know? Did this person have to borrow their mom’s car because their tagged car is in the shop?

    Maybe I’m just optimistic but I would talk to the owners and if nothing changed within 2 weeks, I would call the cops. While I don’t want these people ticketed, I think they need to realize the importance of handicapped parking.

  • Hannah

    I forgot to mention – if they do it there and get away with it, they definitely do it other places it.

    Honestly, if I knew a friend did this – I’d question our friendship. I would prefer to surround myself with people who understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them. And no matter how hard you think you have it – someone has it harder.

  • Heather

    I would leave a note on the offender’s windshield nicely explaining that those are for handicapped persons only. I don’t understand people who park in those spots. Walk 20 more feet, it’s good for you! And you CAN walk, which disallows you from parking in those spots. grr.

  • ep

    You shouldn’t park in disabled parking. Simple as that. And Jason and I got a ticket in college once for it…I wasn’t even actually parked. I had the car in drive and Jason was about 20 feet away getting a friend. Didnt stop the cop from giving me a $250 ticket.
    In any case, it’s just uncool, and I’ve parked across the street in the pouring rain to pick up my kids when there were no spots.
    Shame on those people who do.