by Kailee Kivett
When women need to change their child’s diaper while in public, they immediately head to the nearest bathroom, which is usually equipped with at least one diaper changing station. However, men do not always have the same luxury. Men’s bathrooms typically lack a changing table. Some men have to use the countertop or even sit the baby on their laps, which is not a safe alternative.
Dads who want to be more involved with their children are struggling when it comes to changing diapers. Recently, more and more fathers have spoken out about their need for changing stations in men’s bathrooms. Even Ashton Kutcher posted a complaint about the problem via Facebook back in early March.
A few states have considered passing laws that require places such as fast food restaurants, supermarkets and movie theaters to provide more changing stations, either directly in the men’s bathroom or in a place accessible to both genders. Although these laws never passed, many people are still striving to make a change, especially single dads.
The number of single parent households in the year 2008 was 10.5 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those 10.5 million households, single father households accounted for about 2.5 million. In 2012, Pew Social Trends stated that the number of stay at home dads was almost 2 million. These numbers are much larger than they were fifty years ago and the demand for gender equality is growing just as quickly.
The necessity for these changing stations is only going to increase over time. Not only is the lack of changing stations not fair to men, but it also increases the risk of disease or injury when the father has to find other ways to change their child’s diaper. Changing tables should be available to both men and women, whether they are in their respective bathrooms or in a neutral place.