Should a child give up their seat on public transport?

Daily Mail,
Publish Date
Saturday, 17 November 2018, 1:21p.m.
A woman has provoked a furious debate about children being made to give up their seats on public transport. Photo / Getty Images
A woman has provoked a furious debate about children being made to give up their seats on public transport. Photo / Getty Images

A mother has provoked a furious debate on whether children should be made to give up their seats for elderly passengers on public transport, after an incident during a bus journey.

Taking to the British parenting forum Mumsnet the woman explained how a woman in her sixties had started moaning "loudly" because she didn't offer her one of the seats occupied by her her two children, aged four and six.

The mother-of-three went on to explain that she was standing with a baby in a pram, and so couldn't offer her own seat.

According to the woman, who under the username "whatsthepointthen", the older lady kept "shaking her head" throughout the journey, prompting her to pose the question: "Should children give up their seats for their elders?"

The scenario initiated a range of replies from others, with some suggesting it depends on the children's age and how able bodied the older person is, while others claimed "some bus routes are not suitable for small children to stand on".

A popular view was that at the age of four and six, the children should have been sharing a seat rather.

One said: "At four and six I would have had them squash up so someone else could at least perch on the end."

Photo / MumsnetPhoto / Mumsnet

The original poster gave further context, saying her her son had previously fallen on the same bus and banged his head on the floor while "standing up and holding on" after the bus "whizzed" around the corner, so she now always tries to make sure they get a seat.

Others agreed with her, including one who said: "Children should be sitting down on buses as it's safer for them. There is a tendency for people to treat kids like second class citizens - they were on the bus first and therefore got the seats and have no moral obligation to give them up any more than the adults who were on the bus first. That's how public transport works and if she doesn't like the rules, she is free to get a cab!"

Another agreed, saying: "I'd not ask my children to stand. They have as much right to a seat as anyone else."

However, others disagreed and said that the six-year-old at least should have stood up.

One unsympathetic reader replied: "That's just basic consideration. Can you six-year- old ride a scooter? If so, he's got a sense of balance."

Another user agreed: "I always told my DS to stand up for a woman or an older man and now as a teenager he always leaps up to offer people his seat."

While another suggested the mum's decision not to make her children move and offer up their seats was rude: "If the woman was elderly and fell she could end up dying or permanently disabled.

"So I would get at least the six-year-old to give up a seat but I'm 'old-fashioned' and polite anyway so I'd have my children stand with me (and hold onto them)."

Others took the viewpoint that other adults should have vacated their seat for an elderly lady.

One commented: "I always find it bizarre that the people who are compelled to give up their seat for a vulnerable passenger, are other vulnerable passengers rather than, for example strapping twenty year olds."

Another agreed: "Well, unless she was struggling to stand I don't think being in her 60s makes her more worthy of a seat than a child. Surely it makes far more sense for an able bodied adult to stand up than a child of 4 or 6."

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