Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Surprising Lack of Changing Stations in Men's Rooms

There are plenty of things you take for granted before becoming a parent.  I've talked at length about a number of them, but one that is near and dear to my heart is the lack of changing tables in men's restrooms.  Recently, Ashton Kutcher posted on Facebook about this issue and the story was picked up by a number of news sources.  Most seemed to agree that this was a problem that needed addressing.  Ashton then went on to make a petition targeted at Costco and Target which was a huge missed opportunity because Target already has them in their stores.  Regardless, some places still don't have changing tables in their men's restrooms and when this happens, it really puts dads in a tough position.  If you aren't with your partner or if you are a gay couple with a child, you choices are extremely limited.  You could run out to the car, but changing a kid's diaper in freezing temperatures with the door open isn't really a good option.  Luckily, a fellow father named Scotty Schrier has started a database of sorts to document places that do have men's rooms.  The database can be found over at his website, Dads Who Change Diapers, and with more users entering data, the list will become more and more beneficial to other dads.

Ashton's Facebook post
Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see a stay at home dad being the primary caregiver for a child.  When they go out, not having a changing station is a pretty big detriment to their day.  Most of the big box stores and fast food restaurants have been pretty good about installing them in men's rooms.  Every Target that I have gone to and Chick-Fil-A has had one in the men's restroom.  Some even put them in the general area instead of the handicap bathroom to make sure that it's accessible even when the stall is occupied.  It's when you look at the smaller stores when the number of men's room with changing tables starts to drop.  With the changing dynamic of families and the increased roles of fathers in home life and raising a child, it's shocking to see a lack of commitment on store's behalf to support this.

What can you do about this?  Support places that recognize dads as parents and have changing stations in their bathroom.  You don't have to boycott places that don't, but I doubt you'll be going there without your wife or a female companion.  Instead, call out places that do support fathers.  Use Scotty's database over at Dads Who Change Diapers to ensure dads can find a changing table when things get messy.  Or, like I did recently, call out on Twitter a place that shows their support of fathers.  It's a small gesture of saying thanks but even a small tweet can help raise awareness for this issue.


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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the useful database! My partner has been creative when trying to find a changing table, including walking into kind restaurant's where we weren't dining to use their men's room changing tables, or having accommodating employees guarding the women's restroom while he changes our kid's diaper. I agree we need to raise awareness, and I like your idea of using tweets!

    Best,
    Loreann
    http://whosjomama.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete