Should children take up a seat on a train?

Recently I saw a discussion on a Facebook page about Children taking up seats on the train and leaving adults to stand.

“Am I being unreasonable to think that small children shouldn’t take up tube seats?” Was the title

Now I travel on the underground throughout the city of London at least once/twice a week with my three children aged 3, 7 and 12. So I was intrigued as to what the general public thought of this, as I read through the comments I was quite shocked to read some of other people’s views. Some people agree that children should be standing and giving up their seat to an adult as they have paid for the seat and not the child! HHmmm.

I was brought up with respect for others around me; always hold a door open for others, allow the elderly to go before me, give my seat up on public transport to those who are less able than me, never to push and shove on a busy street and always to say please and thank you. I have carried on the way my parents brought me up with my children and I should hope that when I am not around and they are out with their friends that they carry on with the courteous manners that I have taught them. Children learn from us adults and to gain respect we need to give it out too. If others are courteous to them then hopefully they will learn the right way to behave.

When we travel into London on the tube, we mostly all have a seat for ourselves. The carriage is always pretty empty but by the time we arrive into the City, it starts to get busy. Not too busy for the children and I to make room for others. But on the way home is another matter. When we step foot onto the tube coming back home it is normally packed and we don’t get to take a seat. I stand with my three children, bags banging into my 7 year olds face, people stepping on my 3 year olds feet as they can not see him down so low. Yet people who are sitting only occasionally offer their seat to my youngest. They sit and watch him cry, other passengers have tutted at me before and roll their eyes in my direction, as they watch my children struggle with their balance and fall all over the train. Are my children, aged 3 and 7 not less able than adults? Yes! they have had a busy day at work and yes they have paid for their journey but what is safest? A young child falling over, getting squashed and being stepped on or an able-bodied adult who can reach to hold on to the bars to steady their balance!?

When on a busy train I have:

  • Placed my youngest onto my lap so others can sit
  • Asked my 12-year-old to stand so other passengers can sit (even though he pays for his travel, it’s courtesy after all)
  • Placed two of my children onto one seat to make room for others to sit
  • Given up my seat and stood in front of my children so that the four of us have only taken one seat in total so other can sit

What other passengers have done for us:

  • Sat and tutted at me for travelling during rush hour (We want to get home too you know! The reason why we are in London at 5 in the evening is because one of the children have attended an audition)
  • Watched my children struggle with their balance and some have laughed as they have fallen over
  • Rolled their eyes at me with disgust, What am I not allowed to travel with my children?
  • Watched my 7-year-old take a seat on the floor because he is too tired to stand
  • Knock their bags into my boys faces. One man even dragged his heavy suitcase over my sons foot, causing him to cry and leaving him with a bruise. Why? Because my son couldn’t move fast enough out of his way as he was trying to head for the door
This is my eldest when he was 9
This is my eldest when he was 9, I was standing holding the younger child

I would like to say “thank you” to the very rare passengers that do allow my 3-year-old to sit down and what does he do in reply to their kindness, He always says Thank you!

When a train is very busy it is particularly risky for children to stand. I have no problem with my 12-year-old standing on a train, even sometimes my 7-year-old. They can both balance and understand that they need to hold on but even for their ages it is dangerous. When a carriage is packed with passengers both standing down the aisles and near the door ways and the train approaches the platform. Passengers who are getting off begin to make their way towards the opening door in a surge. When there are quite a few people among that fast-moving rush it can become unsafe for young children to be amongst them, as they could be forced along with the movement and end up on the platform away from their adults. This has happened to us, but thankfully as I screamed out my son’s name, a kind lady pushed back on to the train just as the doors were just about to close.

I would always offer my seat to the less able and so will my 12/7-year-old but I do believe that My 3 year old should sit! It’s not very comfortable for him to sit on my lap as he is a fidgeter and can sometimes kick out so It is safe for other passengers legs for him to sit by himself with me standing in front of him

What do you think?

Am I wrong?

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3 thoughts on “Should children take up a seat on a train?

  1. We recently went to London and I was surprised at how many people offer Bob a seat. At 3 it is so hard to stand on a moving tube. I think most people realise that. xx

    1. You had a good experience 🙂
      I find some lines better than others, I’m not sure why?! The district line travellers are not as courteous as the central line x

  2. I do the same as you. Quiet train, we both sit, busy, then I’d stand and let him have the seat (he’s 4). As you say, bags and arms are at head height and it’s not safe for children to be standing when people are so oblivious below waist height. We were taught the same by my mum, having to share a seat with my brother when we were both small.

    I got pushed back off a rush hour tube (by my brother getting rather than someone else) at the age of 10. The doors shut but luckily the guard spotted me standing there on the empty platform and reopening the doors. But terrifying for my mum who was trying to tell me they come back and get me, while I was going to get on the next train to where our car was. People just don’t notice children, and I’m astounded they can be so rude to people who’re totally entitled to be on the train as well.

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