WASHINGTON --If you have ever changed a baby's dirty diaper in a public restroom, you know it can be a horrible ordeal if you don't have a changing table. However, that is the experience dads around this country have faced for years because changing tables for babies were often only available in women's restrooms.
Now, that is changing.
On Oct. 7, President Obama signed into law the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, aka the BABIES Act. This legislation requires that both men's and women's restrooms in publicly accessible federal buildings contain baby changing tables.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) first introduced the bill back in April.
"Federal buildings are paid for by taxpayers and it's important to ensure that they are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible. With this new law now in effect, Social Security offices, Post Office buildings, and courthouses will be more accommodating for working moms and dads in Rhode Island and across the country," Cicilline stated on his website.
The legislation had bipartisan support and several dads, including Ashton Kutcher, have been lobbying for this type of legislation. In 2015, he launched a petition on Change.org calling for businesses to put changing tables in male restrooms.
According to the Huffington Post, the law defines a "baby changing table" as "a table or other device suitable for changing the diaper of a child age 3 or under" and mandates that these facilities be "physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate."
"This is how government should work to make commonsense reforms that make life easier for the people we serve," said Cicilline.