I love being a dad but one of the things that frustrate me is that whenever I go out and about it’s so hard to find a place to change my baby’s nappy. In almost every place I try I am told that the only facilities were in the female toilet and that I couldn’t use them.
The lack of changing places in men’s toilets means I have sometimes had to think twice about where I went out with my baby alone. I have been forced to change my baby’s nappy in dirty toilets without a clean surface and publicly on restaurant tables, picnic benches and even in the boot of my car.
Three years ago I decided to try and change things and launched a campaign calling for change and we won — Strada, the Italian restaurant, pledged to add a baby changing unit for everyone (not just mums), in every one of their UK branches!
Sadly no-one else followed in their footsteps so everyday dads who want to look after their kids have to make the choice of leaving their child in a dirty nappy, asking a stranger to change their nappy or trying to change in an unsafe way.
I’ve created a community of dads called TheDadsnet and I hear all the time that it’s not just me, dads tell me all the time that they haven’t had access to safe and clean places to change their baby’s nappy when out and about in public, including some of the world’s biggest coffee shops. Here’s an example:
“When we arrived at the hospital my son needed a nappy change. I checked the men’s and disabled toilets for changing facilities to find none. I asked at the information desk where baby changing was and was told it was only in the ladies. I asked where dads were expected to change their babies and was told to ask a nurse to use a side room but not to bank on them allowing it. I ended up changing my son’s nappy on the floor in a corridor.” Dadsnet Member.
This isn’t OK – it’s 2019! It’s time for other big companies to follow in Strada’s footsteps and do the right thing – by making gender-neutral changing facilities in every public restaurant, coffee shop, shopping centre, cinema, cafe, pub, sports centre. I’ve created this petition to start with four of the coffee shop giants to install a baby-changing unit in every one of their male toilets across the UK.
Please join me….
Thanks for your support.