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GUEST COLUMN: Where are the diaper change tables?

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Kelly Dowswell

I joined the exciting and challenging world of parenthood just four short months ago. They have been the most rewarding and draining months of my life, but I wouldn’t change them for anything.

But one of the challenges I have surprisingly faced is the lack of change tables in restaurants, cafes and other establishments.

Recently, U.S. actor and celebrity Ashton Kutcher mentioned the lack of change tables in men’s bathrooms, but what about women’s bathrooms? I know that many have tables, but there are still those that don’t.

Ontario law states that, “Space for an adult change table will have to be provided in all universal toilet rooms except in buildings under 300 square metres.” The law became effective Jan. 1.

But what about places built before that time? It appears they aren’t required to change.

Sometimes, just getting my little guy dressed, the diaper bag packed, and him in the car seat is difficult enough, and I have only one child.

And when I’m out and about and he needs a diaper change, it becomes a real task.

I have stopped at several coffee shops to change his diaper and have a drink, but when I get into the bathroom there are no change tables available.

It’s inconvenient and extremely frustrating.

I have to haul my little guy back out to the car and either drive someplace I know has a change table, or awkwardly change him in the car, which is even harder in the winter.

When I discover an establishment lacks change tables I stop going there. My baby is the biggest part of my life right now, and if a facility doesn’t have the means for me to take care of him, then we’re done, unfortunately.

Most cafes and stores that do have change tables use a popular brand I’ve seen online. They costs about $300. I wouldn’t imagine installation would be too expensive either.

Operations that make parents with babies feel welcome will get back the business they are potentially missing out on. It’s really a small price to pay.

Kelly Dowswell is a new mom and paginator currently on maternity leave from The Journal

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