This is part of our series on new California laws taking effect in 2018.
A few months ago, I took my three kids out to lunch, and my baby needed a diaper change.
I carted him off to the men’s room, ready to take care of business. But there was no changing table installed.
The other kids, including my toddler, were halfway through their lunch; I couldn’t leave them in the restauraint to take the baby out to the car.
So I changed the diaper at our table – on a booth bench. (Yes, I agree: that was gross. Apologies to any diners nearby who noticed.)
Of course, I’m far from the only dad to experience this – just ask Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon about the time he changed a “number two” in a restaurant recently:
“I stuck my hand right in it, and it was awesome,” he laughs.
Diaper changing stations are more common in women’s restrooms than men’s, but there haven’t been any requirements – until now. Starting in January, a new bill by Calderon offers parents some help.
“It just requires that there be one diaper changing station available to both men and women,” he says.
That could either be one changing station in the men’s room and a second in the women’s room, or one in a single-occupancy restroom accessible to people of any gender.
“The relief of a parent being able to change their baby on a nice changing station in the restroom – rather than on a booth at the restaurant or on some chairs, where your baby could fall, or having to walk all the way back to your car – I think it’s a much better option,” Calderon says.
But the change will be gradual: The law only applies to state and local government buildings, large retail and entertainment venues, and restaurants that hold at least 60 people – and only then, to new construction and renovations.