#BuffaloDad – Wanted: Changing Stations For Every Man, Woman and Child!

It seems Jason has an ally in Ashton Kutcher - Photo via mashable.com

It seems Jason has an ally in Ashton Kutcher – Photo via mashable.com

I read a story earlier this week about a dad who’s a little fed up with the lack of child changing stations in men’s rooms. This is something I often complain about as well. There’s nothing worse than when, in the middle of winter, you’re out with your child, and its diaper change time. You go into the men’s room expecting a changing station, and none can be found. What do you do? Do you take your kid out and do it in a cold car? Just lay them on the ground in a corner or on the booth seat at the restaurant? Do you dare go into the ladies restroom and use theirs if no one is in there? It’s a struggle that happens too often in my opinion.

Women only huh? - Photo via www.963wdvd.com

Women only huh? – Photo via http://www.963wdvd.com

I find that most corporate places tend to have them which I think is some of the draw of families to these establishments. It’s comforting to know you can feel normal by going out to eat at a place that has proper cups, lots of options to eat for kids and proper changing stations when needed. Here in Buffalo we obviously have some great places to eat, but most aren’t overly family-oriented in all those ways. Sure, they might boast a kid’s menu, but when it’s time to let out what they just put in, they don’t have the required equipment. I can list dozens of places we frequent that have large enough bathrooms to install a changing station in the men’s room that do not.

I think in the year 2015 this is a strange problem to have. Everything in this world is overly scrutinized and politically correct. Parenting is no longer something just women do. There’s actually an increase in Dads being the stay-at-home parent. Both parents tend to work full time, leaving both parents to fend for themselves alone with the kids. In our household my wife works three days a week, all day long. We only spend one full day together as a family. If we’re out and I go to change a diaper but there’s no station, I can turn to her for help. When she’s not there, I’m stuck.

We need a few more of these in Mens Restrooms - Photo via people.rit.edu

We need a few more of these in Mens Restrooms – Photo via people.rit.edu

There is no state or federal Law requiring places to have changing stations much less one in each restroom. As I said above, many corporate places have these amenities, but Buffalo has a huge local business industry. Many of these local businesses don’t have changing stations in either restroom much less both.

So what can we do to change this? Aside from using Google Maps and creating my own chart of places with changing stations for dads, let’s think a little more broadly. Most places — if you mention something to management or fill out a comment card with a suggestion — they will listen. We also have elected officials we put in office that work for us, so use them. Email them; start a petition; and provide examples of businesses. Start locally, and work your way out from there. If your city or town doesn’t do anything, then go to the county and state level. If you have a restroom for public use, you should be required to provide everything someone may need. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to add a changing station to the list of necessities. I’m pretty sure there’s no federal or state law requiring places to have restrooms be made available for public use. They seem to be viewed as a courtesy rather than a necessity.

What is this the 1st Century? That's not very sanitary... -  Photo via www.today.com

What is this the 1st Century? That’s not very sanitary… – Photo via http://www.today.com

Buffalo is a great city; it’s the city of good neighbors. Businesses want to be treated like individuals from a legal perspective, so that would make them neighbors as well. So be a good neighbor, and hook us Dads up. If you have a changing station in one restroom, please add one to the other. If you have none, then get some. If there’s no room for one, just find a place with a little privacy you can direct a parent in need to. It might cost a few hundred bucks, but a little bit can go a long way.

By: BuffaloDad

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