Men's toilets in New York to be fitted with nappy-changing tables

02 January 2019 - 14:21 By Ntokozo Miya
A new law gives dads in New York access to nappy-changing tables in public restrooms.
A new law gives dads in New York access to nappy-changing tables in public restrooms.
Image: Shutterstock via The Conversation

Not having nappy-changing facilities in men's public toilets makes things awkward when fathers take their children out without a woman accompanying them. Thankfully for dads in New York, that is about to change.

In recent years, fathers have expressed concern and even anger at the fact that men's public toilets never have diaper-changing facilities, when women's toilets usually do. 

One of the champions of this cause is Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who has been vocal about the discrepancy since 2015.

Back then, the Huffington Post reported that Kutcher went as far as starting a petition on Change.org, titled "Stop gender stereotyping: Provide universally accessible changing tables in all your stores". 

The actor's sentiments were echoed by two other fathers, whose social media posts went viral in 2018.

In May, Chris "Boneyard" Mau took to Facebook to express his anger at having to change his daughter "on a disgusting floor".

A few months later, in September, Donte Palmer wrote on Instagram: "What's the deal with not having changing tables in men's bathrooms as if we don't exist!"

Their complaints are now set to be a thing of the past - at least in New York. 

According to ABC News, a new law requires that changing tables be installed in all new and renovated public toilets, including men's toilets. The legislation impacts establishments such as restaurants, cinemas and government buildings.

A number of forward-thinking restaurants had apparently already started providing nappy-changing stations in male restrooms, but the new law means that the renovations are now compulsory and other businesses are expected to follow suit soon.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said: "We will help ensure that all New Yorkers can give their children the care they need at this critical stage of their lives."

Meanwhile, dads here in Mzansi will have to keep waiting for their own changing stations - but hopefully the US law is a sign of things to come.


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