Sorry, California dads -- you're stuck changing baby's diaper on the floor of public restrooms for now. Despite overwhelming support in the state senate and assembly, on Friday Gov. Jerry Brown struck down two so-called "potty parity" bills that would have required public places, like shopping malls, movie theaters, and sports venues, to make changing tables accessible to men and women.
"At a time when so many have raised concerns about the number of regulations in California, I believe it would be more prudent to leave the matter of diaper changing stations to the private sector," the governor explained in a statement via Reuters. "This may be a good business practice, but not one that I am inclined to legislate."
Say what? I'm no fan of a nanny state either, but making diaper changes a little easier for male caregivers seems like an odd place to draw the line. After all, in recent years, the California government has regulated everything from disclosing social media passwords to texting while driving to tattoo removal. Certainly there are economic considerations at play -- it costs money to build family restrooms or renovate existing ones to include changing tables. But the need for equal access is there, and not just in California: According to a recent survey conducted by the CDC, some 90 percent of dads who live with their kids say they bathe, diaper or dress their children every day or several times a week. It's time the powers-that-be recognize that sharing baby care duties (including on-the-go diaper changes) isn't fringe; it's a part of mainstream modern parenting.
Although the bills were shot down, it sounds like their supporters are anything but unbowed. "I will continue to recognize the growing role of fathers in raising their kids, and celebrate the amazing California dads and their dedication to their children," said Sen. Ricardo Lara, who sponsored one of the bills. Hopefully other legislators around the country will do the same.
Tell us: How do you and your partner handle diaper changes in public restrooms?
Image of baby on changing table courtesy of Shutterstock