Lawmaker wants diaper changing tables in men’s restrooms

(KHON) – A Honolulu city council member is introducing a measure that would provide caregiver parity for both mothers and fathers.

Where they can change a child’s diaper?

Children do what they do and diapers need to be changed.

One city councilman now says where they are changed can pose health risks for everyone.

Trevor Ozawa is a city council man, and a father. For him the bill he introduced is personal. One that hit home when he was with his baby girl at a restaurant.

“It was just me and my daughter at a function. And I had to change her diaper, and I asked the waiter where do I go to change her diaper? He said in the restroom. But I’m going in the men’s restroom. There was no baby changing station,” said Ozawa.

He says he went into the family restroom and that didn’t have a baby changing station either. But he learned the women’s bathroom did have one.

So he introduced a measure, requiring the installation of diaper changing stations at new establishments, or those that undergo significant renovations.

“The point is to have fair and open access to both men and women to change babies,” he said.

Ozawa also points out having a changing station is sanitary, and that this is ultimately a public health issue.

Jodee Chang Is a mother of two. She couldn’t agree more.

“I think a men’s bathroom itself is a very unsanitary place,” Chang said. “I think it’s a great proposal because all of us of been in that situation where we were busy. We had to give her babies to a guy to help in that situation, and so yeah I think it’s a great bill.”

The Side Street Inn on Kapahulu built a changing station in the women’s bathroom knowing it would be a family restaurant.

The mens bathroom doesn’t have one yet.

“So now they want to put this into a bill or what not. Hey we’re ahead of ourselves. We got a space for it. We’re ready so when that happens were ready to go. We’re halfway there,” said Robbie Acoba of Side Street Inn.

Ozawa says in the end this bill not only help parents but anybody who uses a public restroom.

“Because it will provide a safer healthier place at many places are malls and restaurants are public parks,” said Ozawa.

Ozawa says he’d like to see the city take the lead in providing bathoom parity starting with city parks and recreation centers.

The bill will be introduced for first reading at the council’s June 3 meeting.

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