Google can find almost any information on the internet, but one thing it cannot do is help a dad who is in search of a changing table. A clean place to change your child’s diaper does not seem like too much to ask, and a growing number of dads on diaper duty are becoming more and more frustrated about this issue. Google the term, “men’s rooms with changing tables,” and the site returns countless articles about fathers’ growing frustration of finding a a somewhat sterile space to execute a diaper change. Although it does happen, mothers rarely have this issue. After trying several different men’s rooms, one undercover dad reporting to the Today show had to resort to going into the stall and laying his infant daughter on the floor in order to change her diaper. The men’s room is notoriously one of the filthiest areas in an establishment with urine and feces sometimes on the floor where dads are being forced to change their children’s diapers, who at this point are screaming their heads off because they cannot just Google the nearest changing table. A search engine will not find a changing table, dad.
Better yet, instead of making dads in search of changing tables Google the nearest men’s room with one, help dads out by making changing tables mandatory in all public restrooms. Out of the five restrooms the undercover dad visited, only one got it right with a changing station in the men’s room. In 1960 and before, this was a job that was reserved for mothers, but having this problem in 2014 is completely inexcusable! Today, the roles of dads have completely changed 360 degrees, and women and men share the duties that were once reserved only for women. These are societal constructs that have set up the roles of male and female parents. They are not biologically predisposed. As for gay dads, they are completely out of luck and must resort to the practice of many other dads: going into the men’s room stall and changing the baby on the disgusting floor soaked in urine.
The situation has slightly improved compared with a few years ago. Several states and cities are enacting legislation to give dads an equal opportunity to change their kids’ diapers in a public place. It is not fair to make the moms change dirty diapers 100 percent of the time during family outings. Currently in California, two separate bills have been passed through the Senate, each mandating changing tables in men’s public restrooms but these bills are waiting to be heard by the State Assembly. Miami now requires them in all new and remodeled establishments. Lastly, San Francisco orders public-serving businesses to have changing table that are accessible to both men and women.
Hopefully, other states will catch on to this gender disparity and realize that dads cannot simply search Google for the nearest changing table. The closest thing there is to searching Google for a changing table is one smart dad’s blog, Changing Tables For Dads. In his blog he humorously discusses the woes shared by dads all over the world, and praises the public establishments that do cater to the needs of single dads, gay dads, or just plain dads. The only thing that might be more helpful to dads is a smartphone app that pinpoints the nearest men’s restroom with a baby changing station.
Opinion by Sarah Gallagher