Is it just me or are dads stepping up in a big way? Many fathers nowadays play an active role in their children's lives. More fathers are taking on more responsibility when it comes to their children. We see you in Starbucks feeding your babies, strolling down the streets with your baby carriers and doing your part as a dad. I am not stating that we should begin to roll out the red carpet for them just yet. Men do one thing right, which is what they are supposed to be doing and we are quick to applaud them or pat them on the back. Dads are standing up and declaring a comfortable space to change their children's dirty diapers.
I had no idea that dads were in uncomfortable positions squatting in the men's bathroom or placing babies on sinks to change diapers. Changing diapers can be challenging. I just never thought it was a problem for dads or assumed that mothers were changing babies diapers half of the time.
New York fathers will now have changing tables in men's public restrooms due to the new law implemented this year. This is awesome news and I applaud New York State for stepping up and recognizing that dads change diapers too. The new law that goes into effect in 2019 changes the state's building code to require new and renovated buildings with public bathrooms to provide changing tables in both the women's and men's restroom.
The New York law is an addition to former President Barack Obama’s 2016 Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, or the BABIES Act, which required changing tables in restrooms of all genders in federal facilities. New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D), who spearheaded the legislation in 2015, applauded its passage in April as part of the state budget. “It’s not just moms who change diapers. Dads need to step up and do their part of the dirty work, too,” he said
The BABIES Act comes after so many dads from celebrities to ordinary people complained about the need of changing tables in public restrooms. In 2015, Ashton Kutcher voiced his complaints about lack of changing tables in men’s restrooms and launched a Change.org campaign to call for businesses to implement them. Other fathers posted images on social media highlighting their struggles and concerns. One father, in particular, Donte Palmer, posted an image of himself changing his son's diaper while squatting on a bathroom floor to raise awareness about the issue. “We are active fathers,” Palmer said about the men who responded to his call, saying many of them are happy to be the stroller-pushers and the bottle-warmers but that “we don’t want to have to get in the man squat to change diapers the rest of our lives.”
There are changing tables in most women's bathrooms, and some men are uncomfortable and embarrassed to change diapers in the ladies restrooms. The design of public restrooms in the past were only made to accommodate women and their babies with no consideration of the manly perspective. Hopefully, this change will encourage other fathers to take an active role in their children's lives.