There are times when a baby might need an immediate diaper change.
Parents know, sometimes you're not always in the most convenient place for a diaper swap. This is where a public changing table comes in handy.
Ashton Kutcher set off a debate more than a year ago when he declared a major problem with public men's restrooms:
The Hollywood actor's Facebook post went viral, with people both agreeing with Kutcher or countering his claim.
As more and more men take on 'daddy duties,' parenting needs outside the home have evolved.
Men have to be able to provide the same care for children as women do. Employers and businesses are required to provide women with parenting essentials, such as breastfeeding or breast pumping rooms. Should men expect their parenting needs to be met in the same fashion, such as with changing tables in men's restrooms?
According to the Pew Research Center, the number of single father households in the U.S. increased nine times from 300,000 in 1960, to 2.6 million in 2011. Pew data also shows traditional mom and dad roles are converging and more fathers are staying home to take care of the kids. In 2012, roughly there were roughly two million stay-at-home dads, up from about one million in 1989.
A man named Scotty Schrier started a blog with a map list of public places in the country that have changing tables in men's rooms. A search of the Sacramento area reveals almost no locations are listed. It's important to note, the locations on the list are added by users who wish to contribute to the blog's map.
Even though dads like Schrier and Ashton Kutcher have pushed for change, their frustrations haven't been met with much enthusiasm by the government.
In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed two bills that would have made baby-changing tables more accessible to men in public places. SB 1358 from state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would have required state or local agencies, as well as public venues like restaurants or grocery stores, to provide at least one diaper changing station to both men and women.
SB 1350 from Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, required businesses install diaper changing stations for both sexes in the future.
Currently, diaper-changing tables are not a requirement in the California building code. In other words, businesses have the choice to install a changing table.
Koala Kare, arguably the most recognized brand for commercial baby changing tables, sells the stations online. Changing table prices range from around $162 to about $1243. A Koala Kare representative said, the industrial tables commonly seen in public restrooms, are self-installed. Their company doesn't send a specialized person to install the changing tables.
Supervising Building Inspector for the city of Sacramento, Jay Griffin, said, there isn't a specific city code for installing a baby-changing station.
"We would look to see that the table is fastened with standard best practices," he said.
Griffin also said if a business decides to install changing tables, they need to be accessible so that a person with a disability can also comfortably use the station. For example, a wheelchair must be able to slide under the changing table. The latch to unfold the table must also be within reach for those with a disability.
For now, unless there's a change in state law or city codes, fathers have no choice but to rely on business practices and hope for the best when taking the kids out on the town.