At home, either parent can easily change their baby’s diaper. Outside of the home, moms will find a changing table in almost every bathroom. Men’s bathrooms, however, often lack changing tables. The BABIES Act will put changing tables into more men’s bathrooms across the country.
There was a time when the social norm was moms changed diapers and dads did almost no childcare. Today, it is normal for both moms and dads to do hands on childcare with their babies. Years ago, I would see a mom out pushing a stroller or carrying her baby in a sling. Today, I see just as many dads doing the same thing.
The moms who are out with their babies can step into any public bathroom and be certain of finding a changing table. The dads, however, are not likely to find a changing table in the men’s bathrooms. That’s not good for babies!
The BABIES Act is also called the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act. It was proposed in April of 2016 by Representative David Cicilline (a Democrat who represents Rhode Island). The bill passed with a vote of 389-34, with both Democrats and Republicans voting for it.
The BABIES Act requires that all restrooms in public buildings include changing tables. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on October 7, 2016. Public buildings are buildings that are owned by the federal or local government. This includes schools, post offices, public libraries, courthouses, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and things like that. Public buildings that are built after the bill was signed into law will be required to put changing tables in all bathrooms.
There is a limitation, though. Bathrooms that are located in public buildings, that are not for use by the general public, are not required to have a changing table in them. This means that the bathrooms used by the people who work in the public building may lack changing tables.
There is something to keep in mind. The BABIES Act doesn’t require private buildings to put changing tables into men’s bathrooms. So, the restaurant your family has lunch at, or the store you shop in, might lack changing tables in the men’s room.
Some stores and restaurants are putting changing tables in the men’s bathrooms just because they want to. Others have family bathrooms that have changing tables that either parent can go in and use.
Image by francescomucio on Flickr
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