New York Is Now Legally Requiring Men’s Rooms Have Changing Tables Finally

change table
Image: iStock / Wittayayut

For some, it seems like a weird concept, but dads are parents too. Who knew, right? But shocking as it may be, they are. And now modern parenting is requiring men to be hands on with their kids. Which means that dads are doing things like changing diapers. And sometimes those dads are changing diapers in public. So, New York State is getting on board by legally requiring men’s bathrooms to have changing tables. Because dads shouldn’t have to change their babies on bathroom floors or in between wet sinks. And hopefully this is just the beginning for more changes of this kind.

This new legislation comes directly from New York governor Andrew Cuomo. But it’s important to note, this isn’t just for dads. Many public restrooms don’t have changing tables in women’s bathrooms either. Sure, that may be surprising, but it’s true. So, while dads are just getting into this fight, moms have been fighting for a long time.

“Requiring diaper changing tables in public restrooms will help mothers and fathers ensure the health and safety of their children,” says New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in a press statement.

So, what’s going to change? Well, new buildings or building undergoing substantial renovations have to adhere to this new rule. If there’s a new Starbucks coming to a neighborhood, they have to build changing tables. Same thing with McDonald’s. Or any other building with a public restroom. And if they have both women’s and men’s rooms, then both will require a changing table.

Along these lines, the release notes, “there must be at least one changing table accessible to both genders per publicly-accessible floor. Building owners or managers must post clear signs directing the public to the location of the nearest available changing table.”

Finally, people are beginning to understand that not only moms are providing childcare. As the mentality of parenting begins to change, we need our world to reflect that. By adding changing tables to men’s restrooms, they can take the burdens off their wives during an outing.

Additionally, not having changing tables in men’s rooms is exclusionary. What about single dads, or gay dads? They cannot properly change their children because they don’t have the means to, and there are no women to help them out.

“Governor Cuomo and the legislature are taking an important step in recognizing changing parental norms, including a new generation of gay dads like me who no longer should have to change their babies on the bathroom floor because there’s no changing station in the men’s restroom,” Sen. Brad Hoylman mentions.

No matter the reason, we’re glad that New York is taking the initiative. Because the only way attitudes will change is if we show them why. Hopefully New York’s actions will begin to spread to other states.

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