New US law makes baby changing possible in male toilets
President Barack Obama has signed a new law which is in favour daddy-duties.
This is something we've been fighting for in South Africa, but it seems the US is ahead of us in their thinking once again. According to the new law signed by US President Barack Obama, male toilets in public buildings must now have baby changing facilities.
It is now known as the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act. The law also states that both male and female toilets should have a physically safe, sanitary and appropriate place to change a nappy.
According to an article featured on bbc.co.uk, Obama was quoted saying: "Federal buildings are paid for by taxpayers. It's important to ensure that they are as open, as accessible, and as family friendly as possible."
What about SA?
Many a times I've seen people ranting on social media about the state of our public toilets in South Africa, but also the fact that men cannot go into the baby changing rooms in shopping malls to take care of baby. When will we get with the times? When will management wake up and realise that it's not only moms that use those rooms? What about the dads? Do they not matter?
Wheels24’s Janine Van der Post from Cape Town cringes when changing rooms in shopping centres are for moms only. She says: “My husband loves walking around in shopping malls with our little one, especially when I have to do some work. Changing nappies is not considered a task that is dedicated to moms only so why then do some shopping centres only have changing stations inside female bathrooms?
Most times, hubby needs to run out to the car as it’s the only place convenient enough. But what do dads do who came by public transport? Changing a nappy in public is sadly just as frowned upon by ignorant people as breastfeeding is.
“We love the facilities at Tyger Valley. They have a spacious babyroom which can be used by both parents. It’s extremely neat and tidy, and never has any unpleasant odours lingering around. There’s even a soft, leather chair for feeding or putting baby to sleep. Somerset Mall also has a babyroom for moms and dads, although it could do with an upgrade.
“The worst by far would be Canal Walk. And for an
establishment that’s so huge, and popular, I always detest having to go there.
Although there are “family rooms”, I would barely call a room with a smaller
toilet for kids and an adult, convenient because it's always filthy and has no changing facility.
“The changing stations in the female toilets aren’t exactly the greatest either. It’s positioned right at the doorway and those toilets are always busy with long queues. My 1-year-old hates having her nappy changed or it’s a game on good days, but it’s so uncomfortable when she’s perhaps made a mess and you have a row of people staring at her - and you because your child won’t stop crying. It also makes children feel uncomfortable, no matter how young they may be.
“We live in a world where most dads have full custody of their children from divorces, or perhaps they’re young widowers and there is no mom to change a dirty nappy. Why can’t modern shopping centres have any consideration for dads in SA?”
Do you agree that dads should be able to change baby's nappy in public toilets? Do any centres near you provide baby changing facilities for dads? If so, where? Email us your thoughts and comment to firstname.lastname@example.org