Diaper Dads: Where Is My Baby Changing Station?
Whether you are a single dad or you simply spend time alone away from the house with your children, it can be really difficult to properly care for a baby. Most women’s restrooms are equipped with baby changing stations, but it is extremely rare to find one in a men’s restroom.
Baby Changing Options
Some stores have begun offering family bathrooms, and this is a good option for a dad who needs to change his baby’s diaper. If a family bathroom is not available, however, there are often very few options available. In some instances, a store may allow a single dad to take a baby into their employee bathroom if it is properly equipped. If not, it is possible that a single dad will be allowed to utilize a women’s room if it only seats one person at a time.
Shopping Around Your Baby’s Needs
If you only occasionally take your baby shopping, then you can plan your trips around locations that offer family bathrooms. Most shopping malls and establishments that are built for children’s items, such as Toys “R” Us, are more understanding of the fact that parents of both genders may need to use a baby changing station. Going to a small store or a restaurant, however, will almost always leave you without a designated baby changing station.
Filing a Complaint
All stores should make reasonable accommodations for their shoppers, and it is always a good idea to make a push for parental equality whenever an issue presents itself. If you frequent a location that does not have an accessible baby changing station, you should begin by learning how to file a complaint about a company. The first step is typically asking to speak with the manager. Inform them of your issue, and ask if they have any alternative options available that will suit your needs. If they do not, then you need to let them know how difficult they are making things for all single fathers. Some stores will immediately see your point of view and make arrangements to change their current set up. Unfortunately, most stores will not. If you do not receive a favorable response, then you should take your complaint to the store’s corporate office.
What to do if the Corporate Office Refuses to Help
No matter how ridiculous it seems, there are some corporate offices that will refuse to change the setup of their stores to accommodate single fathers. These same corporations would almost certainly cave into pressure if women asked for a baby changing station, and this gender inequality should not go unreported. Consider contacting your local news station to take a stand against this issue. You can also post an online petition or a Facebook page that calls attention to the response that you received from the corporate office. If you are able to demonstrate a wide display of support from the surrounding community, you might be able to change the company’s mind. Even though you may no longer be interested in shopping at that store after the way that they responded to you, it is still important to push forward to help out other fathers.
The number of single fathers and “stay at home dads” is increasing and many companies are becoming aware of this fact. For the businesses that are slow to react to the changing parental landscape, it is our job to increase awareness. Take notice of deficiencies in adequate facilities and ask for what you want. Dads are parents too!
Chris Bennett is a freelance writer for gripevine.com, a great online resource that can teach you how to file a complaint about a company and also connects you directly with company decision makers who can get your complaints heard and resolved.