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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 26, 2019 09:22 AM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Baby Diaper Changing Tables
Soon I will introduce legislation to require that public and private entities maintain diaper-changing stations in all publicly-accessible restrooms.

Diaper-changing stations became available in public restrooms in the 1980s. The advent of these stations has been important to the modern family structure. Until their creation, parents (primarily mothers) were forced to stay at home and limit their public activities due to the lack of safe and sanitary ways to change their baby’s diaper. Changing stations made it possible for parents to take their babies in public without risk of their children catching a disease or getting hurt from being changed in unsanitary or unsafe conditions.

In 2016, President Obama signed the Bathrooms Accessible In Every Situation, or BABIES Act, that requires diaper-changing stations in male and female restrooms in all publicly-accessible federal buildings. Several states and cities have since also passed various laws that require diaper-changing stations in restrooms in public facilities.

Despite this progress, in 2019, many parents in Pennsylvania are still being forced to resort to alternative unsafe and unsanitary means to change diapers, such as using a bathroom floor, a bathroom sink, a park bench, the back of the car, or even a restaurant table because of a lack of diaper-changing stations in public restrooms. Further, Pennsylvanians continue to see disappointingly and disproportionately low numbers of male restrooms with diaper-changing stations, despite the rising number of stay-at-home fathers and an increase in parents sharing responsibilities.

Beyond not being family friendly, the practice of not having diaper-changing stations in restrooms is out-of-touch with the modern family and arguably discriminatory in nature, as it poses as a significant disadvantage to women, single parents, same-sex couples, or parents who share child-rearing responsibilities equally. Having diaper-changing stations in all publicly-accessible restrooms enables parents of all gender identities, sexual orientations, or personal circumstances to care for their children.

While businesses and even the State may be reluctant to incur additional costs, it’s indisputable that this minimal expense is in the best interest of the proprietors, as it promotes public health and safety. It also signifies that Pennsylvania and its businesses care about equality, its families, and its children. Parents should not have the burden of worrying about the availability of changing stations when going to state parks and community centers, restaurants, coffee shops, or libraries.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

If you have questions about this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Introduced as SB999