Anthony Dew, of Maryland, had a plan while Christmas shopping last week.
But it wasn’t about specific gifts to buy or stores to visit. Rather, he planned to change his son’s diaper before the shopping spree began.
“Every father knows you’ve got to change the diaper before you get started,” Dew told Fox4News.
But Dew’s plan was foiled by a Macy’s department store, which didn’t have any changing tables or rooms for Dew and his 4-month-old son. He asked management for help, but they couldn’t find anywhere for Dew and his son to make the switch.
“I couldn’t find a changing table,” Dew told Fox4News. “At that point, I was stuck because unless the baby is content, you’ve got to have a dry diaper.”
So Dew, frustrated, left the department store “without spending a dime,” Fox4News reported.
But instead of stewing in his frustration, Dew wrote a complaint letter to Macy’s chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren, saying it was for all fathers who need those changing stations. And, by surprise, his letter worked. The manager of that Maryland Macy’s store was contacted about the issue and told to install a new changing station.
The store took it one step further, adding “a renovated men’s room — a pleasant place for dads to change kids,” Fox4News reported.
Dew hopes his struggle and resolution will help other businesses bring changing stations to their stores since “babies matter and changing stations, too.”
Not all men’s restrooms have changing stations, after all. Actor Ashton Kutcher complained about this issue a few months after having his son since he could rarely find a changing station in mens’ restrooms.
In fact, there aren’t any federal laws that require stores to have a public space for diaper changing for both men and women, HLN TV reported. Most stores only offer a changing station in the women’s room.
But some have looked to make a change. Back in 2014, California proposed two bills — called the Potty Parity for Parents Act — that would “enable men to have the same access that women have to diaper-changing tables in public places,” HLNTV reported.
Specifically, the bill would require public venues, like shopping centers, movie theaters and department stores, to have changing tables in both gender’s restrooms.
California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, despite it passing through the state Senate and State Assembly, The Huffington Post reported.
Some public spaces do offer changing stations for both sexes, most of which can be found with the Changing Table Locator, a website dedicated to showing where various changing stations and nursing rooms are located. Many states have family friendly changing stations, which are available to both sexes.
But there’s still room for improvement, The Huffington Post reported. In fact, dad blogger Doyin Richards suggests that people should celebrate businesses that offer dads changing tables to help promote the concept, HuffPost reported.
Pressure like this will help add more of those stations to businesses throughout the country.
“With more pressure from parents,” The Huffington Post reported, “especially celebrity parents, perhaps more businesses will take note and work toward potty parity for moms and dads.”