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New York Law Requires Changing Tables in Public Restrooms

A major win for dads (and moms).

Mike Mozart/Flickr

New York dads will soon find changing tables in men’s public restrooms. The state just passed a new law that will change the building code to require restrooms in both new and renovated buildings to be equipped with “safe and compliant” changing tables.

“It’s not just moms who change diapers. Dads need to step up and do their part of the dirty work, too,” said Senator Brad Hoylman of the legislation. “[We] 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.”

The change, which was originally announced last April as part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 Women’s Agenda, will make changing tables mandatory in women’s public restrooms, too. They were only optional until now.

“As a mother, I’ll never forget the stress of being out in public and in desperate need of a changing area for my children when they were babies,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Requiring diaper changing tables in public restrooms will help mothers and fathers ensure the health and safety of their children.”

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Additionally, the new law will require buildings to have at least one changing table per gender on each publicly-accessible floor. Building owners must also post signs clearly directing people to the nearest changing table.

It comes after a post showing a single dad changing his baby’s diaper on the floor of a public bathroom went viral earlier this year, leading to the creation of Squat for Change, an organization dedicated to providing changing tables for all.

And legislation like that of New York is much needed as gender roles continue to change and dads play a larger role in parenting. Senator Hoylman points out, “Since 1989, the number of stay-at-home dads has more than doubled, climbing to more than 2 million by 2010.”