Changing tables make it easy for caregivers to change babies’ diapers in a clean and safe way. But most changing tables in public restrooms have a 20 lb. weight limit. So what happens when children or adults who are unable to use the restroom need a place to change?
Many youth and adults have difficulty using toilets or must wear diapers because of their disabilities. Such disabilities that may affect restroom usage include cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and others.
The U.K.’s disability movement Changing Places has made restrooms more accessible for individuals with disabilities through the use of height-adjustable, adult-sized changing tables and lifts. The campaign has created a map of the accessible toilets that are available to help people who are in need plan their trips.
This idea has been gaining traction in the U.S. in recent months, with the Changing Spaces campaign bringing awareness to the widespread need for adult-sized changing tables and lifts in our country as well.
Many adults with a wide range of disabilities have difficulty using the toilet on their own and need assistance from a caregiver. Basic public restrooms are often inadequate, leaving individuals with disabilities the option of staying home or using the floor of a public restroom, which is unhygienic and unsafe.
The Changing Spaces campaign is supported by such disability organizations as Service Providers Association of Developmental Disabilities (SPADD), United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Georgia, and Max-Ability.
These new restrooms are being advocated for and installed across the country at a rapid pace. In Tuscon, Arizona mothers Amy Weaton and Marianne Scott are fighting to get a state law passed requiring any newly constructed buildings, or public buildings pursuing bathroom updates over $10,000, to install these changing tables that adults can fit on. As of March 2019, this is still a hopeful campaign that many parents and teachers in the area support.
The Changing Spaces Facebook page allows caregivers and individuals with disabilities to share their passion for making public restrooms more accessible to them through stories, resources, and collaboration.