Obama signs bill requiring diaper stations in men’s restrooms
Changing a baby’s dirty diaper in public is truly a struggle for most parents and the US government has taken notice.
President Barack Obama has approved the Bathroom Accessible in Every Situation Act, also known as the BABIES Act, which requires male and female bathrooms to have baby changing tables.
The bill was first introduced by Rep. David Cicilline back in April, after citing the indignity that parents frequently face when trying to care for their babies in bathroom stalls.
“Government needs to do more to ensure that public buildings are family-friendly. No mom or dad should ever have to worry about finding a safe, sanitary place to change their baby―least of all in a federal building that’s paid for by taxpayers,” Cicilline was quoted as saying in a Huffington Post report.
“The BABIES Act is a commonsense proposal that makes government buildings more welcoming for families and helps promote good public health,” he added.
Under the new law, a baby changing facility is described as “a table or other device suitable for changing the diaper of a child age 3 or under” and mandates that these facilities be “physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate.”
At present, the law only applies to bathrooms in government-owned or government-financed buildings like courthouses and public libraries, but Cicilline added that they’ll be looking to implement it on a nationwide scale soon.
Aside from offering convenience to parents, the law addresses an archaic form of sexism—since changing table areas are more common in women’s restrooms, which promotes inequality by suggesting childcare outside the home is a woman’s necessity.
The BABIES Act had been a hot topic of advocacy for celebrities, politicians and bloggers in recent years. One of its most vocal supporters was Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who famously pointed out the lack of changing tables in men’s bathrooms and even launched a Change.org campaign in 2015.
His initiative inspired a pending bill in New York City, which would mandate adding changing tables in all publicly available restrooms, regardless of gender.
Meanwhile, a similar bill was also proposed in the senate last year by recently deceased senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. Khristian Ibarrola
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