Family & Parenting

This City Just Recognized That Women Aren’t The Only Ones Changing Diapers

“It was terrible to see a father changing his child’s diaper on top of a public sink where hundreds of people wash their hands after using the restroom.”

Go into any public restroom for ladies and you’ll find a changing table for mothers who have to tend to their baby’s diapers. Go into a men’s room, on the other hand, and you’re out of luck. The thing is, it’s not just women who need to change diapers in public, and men often are forced to resort to awkwardly changing a diaper on top of a sink or even on the floor.

All of this is about to change in New York City, where a new bill was just passed by the City Council requiring that all newly-built public bathrooms contain diaper-changing stations, whether they’re designated for men or women. This will include facilities such as movie theaters, restaurants, coffee shops and even nightclubs.

The idea for the bill came from Councilman Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn), who saw a dad struggling to change his baby’s diaper over a bathroom sink in a mall in Queens. “It was terrible to see a father changing his child’s diaper on top of a public sink where hundreds of people wash their hands after using the restroom,” Espinal told HuffPost. “Parents should be changing their children’s diapers with a little more dignity, in a space that’s sanitary.”

Currently, there are no national rules requiring buildings to install changing tables in bathrooms, and New York City will be the first in the nation to pass such legislation. According to Espinal, he got no pushback from developers or lawmakers regarding the legislation, which is not surprising considering this will come at a small price for developers: Changing tables only cost between $155 and $185. The mayor is expected to sign the bill into law.

Not only will this law make changing diapers more comfortable for both fathers and their babies, but it will also help to stop the perpetuation of the stereotype that it’s the mothers job to do the dirty work when it comes to taking care of children. Hopefully, this is just the beginning, and more changing tables in men’s bathrooms will pop up elsewhere.