This story was produced in partnership with Pampers.
Here’s some great news: Some 90 percent of fathers today change, bathe, feed, and perform basic-care duties for their babies on a regular basis. Now you’re saying to yourself, where can I change this dirty diaper?
Ah, the elusive men’s room changing table. It’s one of the more frustrating parts of being a dad on the go with a kid who just went. What dad hasn’t been forced to change his kid on a park bench, the sidewalk, a grassy plot half a mile from the museum? It’s annoying and far too common. According to a recent survey commissioned by Consumer & Market Knowledge for Pampers, nine out of ten dads have gone into a public restroom that has not had a baby changing table.
Donte Palmer, a father in Florida, knows the feeling all too well. He became an internet sensation thanks to a photograph of himself squatting in the men’s room, trying to change his child across his lap. After Palmer’s story went viral, Pampers took note of his plight — and that of many other fathers — and decided to do something about it.
“By 2021, Pampers has committed to installing 5000 changing tables in community spaces across North America,” says Andre Schulten, Vice President Baby Care, North America. “We want to give parents the tools they need to care for their babies when out and about.”It starts this Father’s Day when Pampers kicks off this initiative by rolling out tables to community spaces such as playgrounds, public libraries, and recreation centers. The tables will be installed via a partnership with leading manufacturer Koala Kare.
There has been some movement in making changing tables the law of the land. New York City notably passed legislation in 2017 requiring all new buildings with public spaces to provide changing tables in men’s rooms. On the heels of this victory, New York State passed a law mandating “safe and compliant” changing tables in both men’s and women’s public restrooms as well as at major airports.
At nearly the same moment, California passed a law making changing stations available for dads, and the BABIES Act (Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation) was signed into law, making it illegal for federal buildings not to offer changing tables in men’s rooms if they are available in women’s rooms.
These laws are a good start but represent a small fraction of the public changing tables in America. Private initiatives like the one from Pampers are crucial to fill the gaps.
Bringing a little star power to the project, Pampers has teamed up with musician John Legend, who will serve as a brand ambassador and create awareness around the campaign. “Spending time out and about with my kids is one of the greatest joys in my life, but it’s frustrating when I am out with Miles and the men’s restroom doesn’t have a baby changing table,” says Legend. “I’m proud to support Pampers as it paves the way for more inclusive parenting by providing all of us dads out there with the tools we need to succeed.”