Taking your baby out in public is good for parents and little ones, and means you'll be changing your baby's diaper while away from home. It's not unreasonable for parents to expect that family-friendly spaces will have a changing table available, but all too often, one segment of parents finds there's no table they can access.
Dads are calling for more changing tables in men's rooms. Father of three Donte Palmer is the latest dad to call attention to the issue through a now viral Instagram post.
The photo (snapped by Palmer's older son) shows the proud dad balancing in squat in a restaurant restroom stall, trying to change his 1-year-old son's diaper on his lap because there was no changing table available. "Clearly we do this often because look how comfortable my son is," he wrote in his caption. "It's routine to him!!!! Let's fix this problem!"
Seriously, Palmer is so right, and unfortunately, he's hardly the first father to draw attention to this issue. In 2015, Ashton Kutcher started a petition calling for changing tables in men's rooms.
"As a new dad, I recently learned an unfortunate reality about changing diapers while out in public with a child," Kutcher wrote on Change.org back then. "Almost all public changing tables are in women's bathrooms, which makes it nearly impossible to find a table that's accessible to dads."
The next year the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act (the BABIES Act) was signed into law in the United States, requiring changing tables in all men's' and women's restrooms in public federal buildings, but there's nothing requiring public buildings like malls and restaurants to install changing facilities in men's rooms.
That's why dads like Palmer have to get creative when changing their children, and it's not cool. One father, Christopher Mau, went viral earlier this year after sharing a photo of how he had to change his daughter on the floor of a public bathroom. It's not exactly the kind of surface any parent wants to put their baby (or even their blanket) on.
Another father, Chris Webb of Quebec, Canada, made international headlines when he tweeted about how employees at a coffee chain told him he could use the women's bathroom to change his child.
Have a change table in them. Getting out the house with my 1 year old and going for lunch shouldn't mean that I hav… https://t.co/gsFPPQPxUM— Chris Webb (@Chris Webb)1533313915.0
"It's 2018; dads change diapers," Webb told CBC News.
The stats back these dads up. Today's fathers spend three times as much time with their children as men did two generations ago, and they are changing a lot more diapers, too. Back in 1982, 43% of fathers admitted they'd never changed a diaper. Today, that number is down to about 3%, and that's great, because research indicates that when dads dress, diaper and bathe their babies, the father-child relationship grows stronger.
Dads like Palmer, Mau and Webb are bonding with their babies while they change diapers, and they need changing tables to do it, and yet, it seems many businesses and internet commenters feel they don't.
Palmer told Yahoo Lifestyle that some have questioned why his wife couldn't just change the diaper in the women's restroom. "People have commented that my wife is 'lazy' for not changing our baby's diaper or that I could have changed him in the car but why should I?" he explains.
The world needs to learn what this father of three already knows: It's not always mama's turn to change the diaper.
Here's too all the dads like Palmer who go to extremes to change a diaper. We see you. 👏