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#dadsforchange Dad’s can’t change their baby’s nappy in major UK restaurant chains

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By Al Ferguson

Al Ferguson is the CEO and founder of The Dadsnet.

Published on 07/02/2016

Before you read on, you need to watch this:

Men’s public toilets have always been the kind of place you don’t want to spend much time. They’re traditionally disgustingly dirty and the kind of place you have to avoid making contact with any surface…even the flush.

However, times have changed. In a big way. Sure, you still get some filthy men’s public toilets where it’s obvious that men have been playing the ‘see how high you pee above the urinal’ game. But the norm is fast becoming clean spaces for men to go about their ‘business.’

But a mans ‘business’ has also changed. It’s not just about number 1’s & 2’s anymore. Men need baby change facilities in public toilets in restaurants, cafes, soft play, swimming pools, hospitals and all public service. Why? Because, believe it or not but dads do in fact change their baby’s nappy.

#dadsforchange Dad Friendly baby change facilities

A dad in our network tells the story of how he had to go to the hospital with his baby one day. His baby needed a nappy change so he asked at the information desk where he could change his baby. The response was stark…

“I was told it’s in the ladies with a heavy undertone of ‘why would you want to change a nappy?’ I then asked where dad’s were expected to change babies to which I was told, ‘You can ask a nurse if you can use a side room but don’t bank on them allowing you.’ I ended up changing him in a quietish corridor…At the time I was so shocked I didn’t say anything but have since thought about it and am disgusted that I was put in that predicament.”

So really, we can add UK hospitals to the UK based restaurant, coffee & real chains from the video above.

What on earth is going on? If we’re serious about this whole equality thing (and I’m very serious about parental equality) then things have got to change. There have got to be safe, clean places for dads to change their baby’s nappy when they’re out and about, as a basic parental right. If establishments want our custom, they need to provide the correct service.

Rather than just rant, we’re doing something about it. We’ve created a space for people to share and find the dad friendly change facilities in the UK. #dadsforchange

It’s simple. Upload the details of the dad friendly (or unfriendly) facilities. That will then be plotted onto our nationwide map.

The map can be used to see the dad friendly facilities near you.

We feel that it’s important to name and shame those establishments that haven’t joined the 21st century and still think that dads don’t change nappies. If we want to see a genuine change in our towns & cities, businesses have to realise that dads have babies too.

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  1. Becster

    Hubby had this when he took our girl to baby swim classes at a local hotel. I hate swimming and the swim classes were on during the day whilst I was at work (he was off – shared parental leave). The baby changing facilities were in the ladies changing rooms. To find non-gender baby changing facilities he had to walk her up to the disabled toilets which was frowned upon because you had to walk past the restaurant and through reception.

    It’s bloody awful how unequal things are. I mean obviously I am so pleased we’ve had the whole workplace equality thing so women are equal to men but what about the other way? Why are fathers not considered to be equal to mothers? They are more than capable of looking after their own children. I was brought up by my Dad & Taid and I had a fantastic childhood.

    (Sorry went off on a tangent there! Sorry sorry!!

    • Al Ferguson

      I enjoyed your tangent :)
      Thank you for sharing that. I could not agree more. Please do share the campaign and pin as many places to the map as possible :)

  2. Harry

    I guess the only option would be to start changing the baby on one of the dining tables. That would spring the management into action! Good luck with the campaign

    • Mrs O

      I have a condition that leaves me unable to easily move limiting when I can change my son. Whenever my body is playing up my husband is always there to change my son. We were once told that only changing facilities where in the ladies “so why doesn’t your wife just change him?!”
      So I did, on the table in front of me, as i was in a seated position I was much more able to manage the pains in my back/neck whilst manoeuvring and changing my then 7month old. I then opened a webpage that explained my medical condition and the manager was quick to apologise

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you. Please do share it and get pinning all of the places you use with the twins to the map :)

  3. Laura Walker

    This drives me insane there should be just a changing room or facilities in both toilets. My husband took our son into the men’s toilet in m&s the other day as there were a few women queuing to use the one in the ladies. I was shocked at the amount of men though that walked in to the men’s and came back out as they saw him using the changing table so they automatically thought they hadn’t walked into the men’s! I also think some women can be really funny I was changing my son in just a changing room and a man walked in, this outraged one woman as she was breast feeding. He just wanted to change his baby I’m pretty sure he had no interest in looking at her whatsoever. Women need to help dad’s out!

    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you for sharing that Laura. We have had some comments from people saying that dads should just walk in to the woman toilets and a lot of women saying this is fine with them but it’s important to note that some women are not at all comfortable with that and we need to be respectful of everyone here. Also we do as dads have the right to be able to change our own children in appropriate areas. Thank you for your support :) Please do share on any social media :)

  4. Alan aka omgitsagirl2015

    Yes I find that here in Ireland with the exception of places that just have a Baby Changing Room, it’s either the disabled toilet, or nothing in the gents at all.

    At Tullamore hospital there was nothing so I had to change #BabyPink on my coat on the disabled toilet floor.

    Well done for doing something about it Al.


    • Al Ferguson

      Thank you so much for all of your support. Hopefully we can get this changed and ASAP :)

  5. Rebecca Phillips

    I really hate this! Our local shopping centre has a completely separate “Baby Changing Area” two massive cubicles that both genders can use and comfy seats outside for breastfeeding mothers. I think lots of other places should take a leaf out of their book!

  6. Geoff Lee

    I had the same a few days ago in the British Library with my twin girls. The only changing facilities were in the ladies loo. I asked what I should do? “Well, we can close the toilet and I’ll stand outside and make sure nobody comes in while you change them”. What the heck?! Thankfully my gf was with me with the other daughter upstairs and she changed them, but she shouldn’t have to do that.

  7. Sandra

    What an excellent point you make (in an amusing way). How ridiculous that the need for a place where men can attend to their child’s basic needs, has largely been overlooked. I notice from the map that Birmingham looks under represented, so I’m going to investigate and add my findings.

  8. Kerry

    Hi Al – how can you add multiple locations? I just added one, but doesn’t seem to let me add another? Just says:
    Thanks for uploading a baby change facility. It’s appear on the map soon!

    I’ve tried refreshing, etc

    • Kerry

      Nevermind – user error :)

  9. Justin

    nando’s borehamwood, north london has unisex baby change facilities and its 100% clean

  10. John Pring

    I had this problem 20 years ago when I was a House-Husband and it was, and still is so difficult for dads!

  11. tom

    I am a dad of the school that if the only changing facilities are in the ladies, then that’s where I go.
    I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable – and apologise if any ladies come I while I am in there, but baba’s a girl so should be in there, and I think generally the.most uncomfortable person is the restaurant owner (or whatever) who knows they should provide a place.

    Often it’s in the disabled toilet, which seems a good solution. More space and it’s cleaner.

    Not sure I think this is the most important thing to campaign on though. Maybe symbolically, but I never find it a massive hassle.

    • Al Ferguson

      A lot of people take that stance, but I can’t see it working in reality. Men can’t just boldly walk in to the ladies.

  12. Steve

    So far I’ve treated the baby change sign on the same door as the ladies toilet sign as saying both facilities are behind that door, then go straight in. Only a few times so far as a lot of places have baby change in disabled toilet. No complaints yet!

  13. Laura

    I’m so glad to have found your petition. It drives me (and my husband) crazy that so many restaurants and shops have such a sexist and outdated attitude to parenting. I had to change my daughter twice within one meal the other day and, although my husband wanted to help, he couldn’t. If he’s out on his own, he often has to change her on a manky toilet floor with my son standing beside him in a cramped, dirty space.

    My husband will go into the ladies’ to use the changing table if there is no one there, but that’s not always an option. I also think is a bit unfair to have it in the disabled toilet as disabled users as left having to wait while i manouevre children and buggies in and out of the toilet.

  14. Amy | All Things Amy

    Great post and something that definitely needs addressing! I actually wish there were more rooms solely for baby changing, public toilets (male or female) lack cleanliness and I hate taking my baby in there. And why on earth do you need to ask for a key to the toilets in places like Wetherspoons?

  15. Dave Kislingbury

    Science museum London using incorrect signage for ther baby change facilities although just a small room with one change station so can be used by dads and mums the signage will put a lot of dads off they use a baby with a female leaning over changing nappy

  16. ananthi

    Karan johar asked if he changes his babies nappies he said i don’t change. I am terrible at change the nappies. And i don’t want my babies to have badly change nappies. I love them and I adore them there are my life but i don’t change there nappies.

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