Council Demands Written Proof Of Baby's Diarrhoea

After mother appeals ticket issued as she secured sick child in car seat

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Parking bosses have asked a mum to provide written proof that her eight month-old baby soiled herself.

Gill Farrington, 32, was walking back to her car parked in Chiswick High Road when her daughter suffered from a bout of diarrhoea.

“Isobel had not been herself all morning and as I got near the car I realised she was leaking everywhere. Her clothes were filthy,” she said

Ms Farrington went into The Natural Café to change and wash her baby. When she emerged several minutes later she spotted a parking attendant approaching her car in a bay opposite.

She said,“I knew I was a few minutes over time so I shouted to the attendant to say I was coming. I’d had to leave Isobel in a nappy and blanket as I had forgotten clean clothes and she was screaming at top note.”

Ms Farrington arrived at the car where the parking attendant had yet to enter any details into his machine. She accepted she was about ten minutes late and attempted to explain why.

“I asked him if he thought I would normally push a baby around naked but for a nappy and blanket but he wouldn’t listen,” she said.

Ms Farrington turned to calm her daughter and take her out of her buggy. She settled her in the rear car seat, collapsed and packed the buggy, packed shopping bags in the boot, put her bag on the front seat and went back to secure her daughter’s car seat straps.

“As I was bent in the back of the car the attendant issued a ticket,” she said. “I almost burst into tears. It had taken several minutes to get everything in the car and it had taken him that long to process the ticket. If I’d been a single person without a buggy and an upset baby I would have driven off and avoided it.”

The penalty charge, which was issued at the end of April, stated Ms Farrington was parked illegally for 14 minutes. She appealed to Hounslow Council for the ticket to be cancelled.

This week - two-and-a-half months later – she received a reply stating the ticket could only be stopped if she provided ‘valid documentary evidence’ that her child had had diarrhoea.

On phoning the parking office she was told a signed doctor’s note would be the only acceptable proof. Ms Farrington said, “I don’t know if anyone in that office has children but I don’t go running to the doctor’s every time my baby has an upset stomach. There’s no compassion or discretion - they’re just robots designed to extract money.”

She has now paid the £40 fine.

We asked Hounslow Council's Parking Department for comment but are yet to receive a response.

July 12, 2007