New York Passes Law To Require Changing Tables In Men’s Restrooms, And Parents Are Ecstatic

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

New York just passed a law that requires all new public men’s restrooms to contain a changing table, and New Yorkers could not be more relieved.

For years, dads have been lamenting the lack of changing tables in public restrooms. Without a clean surface to use, they’ve often resorted to squatting on the restroom floor. At least some cities and states, though, are beginning to remedy that problem.

The new law went into effect across the entire state of New York on New Year’s Day, HuffPost reports.

“New York proudly leads the nation in fighting for the rights of working parents, and by ensuring access to these amenities, we will help ensure all New Yorkers can give their children the care they need at this critical stage of their lives,” Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in April.

Importantly, the law affects all public restrooms — both men’s and women’s. Parents of all genders are applauding the law as a mark of true progress.

As of New Year’s Day, all new or renovated public restrooms in New York state will be required to have a changing table.

That means men’s restrooms, women’s restrooms, and gender-neutral bathrooms will finally all have changing tables for parents to use.

The law applies to all public facilities and businesses, whether they’re new or renovated. That includes parks, restaurants, stores, and movie theaters.

Each publicly accessible floor must have at least one changing table that any parent can utilize, including men.

This is huge news for New York parents.

Until now, changing tables in men’s restrooms have been largely a hit-or-miss thing in New York state. Some cities always build them in. In other cities, they’re impossible to find.

For single dads and gay dads, that means taking your baby out in public can be a stressful experience. Dads have to essentially plan their trip around where they can safely and privately change their baby — which sometimes means sneaking into an empty ladies’ room.

And let’s not forget married or partnered dads, who might want to — gasp — take their baby on an excursion alone, or give mom a break from changing diapers!

Dads change diapers, too. That’s just reality.

This issue reached national attention in October, when a dad went viral on social media for photographing himself squatting on a restroom floor to change his baby.

It’s a technique that, sadly, many dads have been forced to use.

Soon after, dads began a longer social media campaign to call attention to the issue. They called it #SquatForChange.

By then, the New York law was already in the works. But New York is just one state, and the changing table discrepancy is a problem nationwide.

Still, the law is a major step in the right direction.

People on social media are applauding the law for “finally catching up with cultural realities.”

Because people have been calling for widespread change on this front for a long, long time now!

The issue isn’t confined to just men’s restrooms, either.

Changing tables in public women’s restrooms can also be hard to find. Some cities’ policies are not parent-friendly, period.

But in New York, the new law applies to all public restrooms. Hallelujah!

Now let’s just work on getting a similar law passed in all the rest of the states.

Clean baby butts for everyone!